Wednesday, January 4, 2012

THE Trip, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

We are headed east again, planning to stop for a few days or more in Custer, South Dakota, land of the Black Hills.  We leave from Billings Montana and head out I 90 east.  Our stop this night will be in Buffalo Wyoming, about 165 miles driving.  But, first, we will make a brief stop at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

RV parking is available, however, there are not a lot of spaces that the big rigs will fit in. Big Butt and Tana are 53 running feet long when all hooked up and ready to roll, so we need a nice big piece of real estate to park in (53 feet by the way is the length of an 18 wheeler trailer).  Our experience, it is better to get there earlier in the day.  We arrived about 10 AM local time and there was only one spot we could park in.  It was going to be a hot day, very hot (just 3 days prior we had been in Yellowstone at 8,000 plus feet and mid 50's).  As luck would have it, we snagged that last parking spot, and it was under and in a shade tree, yes, the side of Tana was in the tree, no damage done, and we had SHADE!  We put the fur kids in Tana, opened windows, turned on fans and hustled off to see the park as fast as we could.  It was already quite warm and we knew it would not be long before it was unbearable.  We had to move rather fast, see the park, and get those fur kids back in the air conditioned truck.  Due to our running length and width, we did not drive out to the second area of the battlefield, which is a 4.5 mile one way drive on a narrow road.

Even though I truly love history and family history, I am not much on battlefields and such.  I enjoy visiting and looking at them, but, the science and theory and maneuvers, just are beyond me.  I don't know a company from any other kind of unit.  However, I must admit I had a bit of interest in this battlefield due to the fact that we live very near Monroe County Michigan where there are a number of monuments and other sites connected to George Armstrong Custer who, as we know, led the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry in the tragic battle with the Sioux and Cheyenne.

There are two memorials for George Custer at Find A Grave, one for Little Bighorn, where he was originally buried, and one for his final interment at West Point, New York.

Let's have a look at a few of the photos I took.  Let's do that quietly, as this place demands, peace, quiet, reflecting, honoring all.

Below, part of the National Cemetery here, photo textured for effect.

Below:  Looking up the hill to part of the battlefield, the soldiers were originally buried where they fell.

Wreath near the Indian Memorial, which was dedicated June25th, 2003. The memorial was placed in memory of all the tribes defending their way of life at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25 and 26th 1876.

Below: a very small part of the Indian Memorial.

There is a nice visitors center/museum.  The displays, as with so many of the wonderful national parks are well done, interesting, and a few minutes spent reviewing are minutes well spent.

There is of course, a lot of information on both Little Bighorn and George Armstrong Custer on the Internet. There is a lengthy Wikipedia page, where you find this great photo of George and his bride, Elizabeth Clift Bacon, whom he married on February 9, 1864.  Elizabeth also has a Wikipedia page, makes for some interesting reading.  I believe the photo to be in the public domain, please see this page for full details on that.  

I do so love it when I can combine my interests of photography, history, family history, my travels and my knowledge of our home counties in SE Michigan.  It is a little known fact that Custer's horse is buried in Tecumseh Lenawee County Michigan.   I have a photo of the monument boulder somewhere, but, of course, cannot locate it at the moment, so, if you want to see a photo of it and read the story, please visit this blog.  

After our visit we continued down I 90 to Buffalo, Wyoming, where we spent the night.  Oh, and those high temperatures, I recorded a temperature of 91 degrees, that was about 1:40 local time.  After all the time we spent in the upper elevations of Yellowstone, it was a bit of a shock to our systems to experience 91.  It was not the warmest day we would experience in the next month or so, but, you will hear about some of those later in THE Trip.



Barbara Poole said...

I enjoyed my history lesson for the day. Nice photos and at first they were dark, then remembered I had darkened the screen, now back to light.

irisheyes jennifer said...

Great photos Carol! I particularly like the one looking up the hill at the graves of the soldiers, as you say, "buried where they fell". I always find such places very moving and memorable.

I also like the photo of the Custers. 'Libbie' looks like a very determined woman. Thanks for including the link to her history.


Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

This was a really awesome post Carol! Like Barbara said, a "history lesson"! Very interesting stuff and thanks for the link to the blog post memorial for the horse, I never knew his name was Don Juan...

Carol said...

Thanks Barb, Jennifer and Lisa, I really enjoyed writing this post, I got to snoop around on the net and learned some new stuff along the way. And, I am adding a revisit to the horse's boulder/monument in Lenawee to my long to do list when we get back to the stick built, to get a digital photo.

Jan Kelpe said...

Glad to see the Indian monument, as that is new since we were last there. I love that National Cemetary, it is so Peaceful and the view is so pretty from it