"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." Angela Schwindt

Friday, August 1, 2008

South Dakota Vacation Post #2

In my first post I skipped the telling you about our cabin! I must admit I was a little nervous about what our cabin was going to be like. I was hoping it would be clean at the very least. All my expectations were met and exceeded! I loved our little home away from home for a week. The cabins looked practically new and were spotless. The view was my favorite. The deck of our cabin looked out over a ravin and a couple of mountains. It was spectacular. Every evening while we were cooking supper and relaxing from a long day of running around we would see deer and turkeys right out in front of our cabin. It was really cool! The cabin had air and heat but the weather was so perfect that we did not use them. It was in the 80's during the day and got down in the low 60's and upper 50's at night. Wonderful!

Our cabin was in Custer State Park. It is a very beautiful state park. They had some great education programs too. Every night at 9:00 at each of the campgrounds they had a ranger program. We learned all about their buffalo management program and the history of the bison. We learned how they try to prevent and control wild fires. We did not miss a single ranger program the whole time we were there. We really enjoyed them and learned a lot.
The best park about Custer State Park is the wildlife. It is everywhere and you can actually see it! Top on our list was the Buffalo or Bison of course! Did you know that a male bison weighs upwards of 2,000 lbs. and a female weighs around 1,500 lbs.. A bison can jump 6 ft. from a stand still and 12 feet at a run and they can run up to 35 mph!!! We never got tired of watching the Buffalo.
There were lots and lots of Pronghorn Antelope and Prairie Dogs. We did see a few Mountain Goats too. We never did get a change to see the Elk though. They managed to elude us. We also never saw the bobcats or mountain lions but I was fine with that. Another of our favorites were the Begging Burrows. They are not native to the area. In the 30's people used them to give tours up to Harney's Peak, the highest elevation east of the Rockies all the way to Europe. When the tour company folded they just released them into the wild. Awhile ago the park actually removed them because they were not native and they got so many complaints from people that about five years ago they reintroduced them back into the park. They are very friendly. If you feed them they will stick their heads all the way into the car to get more. We bought carrots just so we could feed them! It was fun!!

Another area at Custer State Park was the Needles Highway. It is called this because you have to drive through three very tight tunnels dug out from the rock on it. It it really neat but nerve racking too!! Two of the tunnels actually frame Mt. Rushmore as you are driving through them!


John and Heather said...

That looks like a wonderful vacation! Relaxing and Beautiful!

Angie said...

One of my favorite family vacations, when I was in high school, was to Custer State Park. Dave and I just took the boys there a couple of years ago, on our Montana/South Dakota romp, and it was every bit as stunning as I'd remembered it. Did you get to visit Sylvan Lake? I still have my Custer State Park t-shirt that I bought there in high school. I can't bear to part with it--such wonderful memories! Love your pictures!