Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Custer State Park :: Nature's Bounty

Friday, August 26th - - I took my time driving through the park as I was leaving, making a big loop north and another one toward the south.

The Cathedral Spires are in the northwest side of the park, along Needles Highway, and were magnificent in the early morning light.

The Iron Mountain Road takes you along the north east side of the park and was considered an engineering marvel when it was first built. It is still rather impressive with the sharp curves, hairpin turns, wooden bridges, and tunnels that were bored through the granite rock – the three tunnels on this route perfectly frame the Presidents on Mount Rushmore that are seen in the distance. I took no pictures on that route – there was too much traffic and the parking areas near the tunnels were filled to capacity when I passed by that way yesterday.

I only drove a short portion of the Wildlife Loop Road as I was leaving the park - it went back north and I was headed south. Buffalo were grazing in the meadow when I turned onto the road.

A hungry calf.

Upon exiting the road on my return, the Bison were taking a break in the meadow. The park maintains a herd of about 1,300 bison, of which these were but a small part.

These antelope were seen a little ways south of Custer State Park but before getting to Wind Cave National Park. I stopped at Wind Cave visitor center but did not take a tour into the cave – too many steps down and I've toured several other large caves.

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