Monday, September 05, 2011

Custer State Park :: Bighorn Sheep

Wednesday, August 24th - - After spending not quite five hours in Badlands National Park, and with temperatures into the 90s, I was hot and tired. Route 44 took me toward Rapid City but my destination for the night was a little to the south, Custer State Park.

As it turned out, all campsites in that park are by reservation only. However, you can call in when you get there to make a reservation. As a non-resident of South Dakota, I also had the privilege of paying an extra fee to make that reservation! In addition to that fee, the park charges $15 for an entrance pass, which is good for seven days. Most other South Dakota parks also have an entrance fee but much smaller and good for just one day. Custer Park “did away” with the daily pass last year.

Anyway, I was assigned a site at the Center Lake (I think it was) campground. It's a large park and I don't remember how many campgrounds there are, perhaps half a dozen or so. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon and I was driving on a hilly, curvy road to the campground, which was about ten miles from the entrance, when I came upon two cars stopped in the road. I could see several bighorn sheep right alongside the road and rather impatiently wished that the drivers ahead would move on so I could get close enough for a picture.

After a few minutes they did move on and I slowly drove up next to the sheep and stopped, having already put the passenger window down. I was able to get off one shot when several motorcycles came from the opposite direction and another shot as the bighorn sheep scrambled down the side of the hill and into the woods.

When I took this photo, I was a little disappointed that the sheep had turned away. However, I think it really shows the size of those horns rather nicely!

A cropped version of the above photo.

All in all, it was a rather incredible day! I'd like to return to the Badlands some time when it isn't quite so hot and take a few of the trails that I missed this time.


Carol said...

You live an enchanted photo life, I live in awe of your enchantment, and a wee bit envious.

Becky said...

Oh, now Carol, you've taken some great pictures too. I just got lucky with being in the right place at the right time! LOL.