Ed and Marilyn, summer trip 2005 travel blog

3 Bull Elks!


Beautiful view!

Yes, it's real!!

A well dressed bison

Galloping across the road

Up close and personal

Mt. Rushmore

Up close and personal to the presidents

And more.....

Indian dance at Mt. Rushmore. Ed and Butch in background.

Indian food and useful items.

Monday 25 July

We left the Badlands yesterday morning, driving west to the Black Hills. The road took us thru grassland with ranches seen now and then. Visiting Mt. Rushmore was our objective for the morning. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln have been carved into Mt. Rushmore since 1941. They represent 150 years of our country's birth, growth, development and preservation. Actually the carvings were begun in 1927, with 400 workers, the project taking 14 years. The actual working time was much less, mostly due to bad weather.

We were fortunate to be at the Rushmore Memorial when they had a nice talk by a Lakota Sioux gentleman, who is a teacher locally. He had two of his children with him, as well as two other Native American youngsters from other tribes. Wonderful examples of the tools, food, and cooking utensils were available to observe and handle. He explained the method of making and using them, plus some of the history of the tribe. The children took turns showing and demonstrating the toys and games that were used. The oldest of the children was a high school junior who demonstrated 2 native dances. He was in Lakota dance costume.

Custer State Park is a great place! We stayed last night at a campground in the park. A wonderful, rough campground, in the Ponderosa pines. We were surprised to see that the park was not crowded. After setting up camp, we left for another wildlife tour. And wildlife we did find! Rabbits, mule and white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, hawks, a large herd of bison, prong horn antelope and finally, the most sought after mammal, 3 magnificent, 6x6 bull elk! The 6 represents western count of antler point on each side, thus the 6x6. They were standing up on a ridge, at the edge of the forest, about 75 yards from us. For some time, they didn't move a muscle, just watched us as we watched them! It was a little dark by then, so we are hoping for the best with the photos.

A picnic dinner was enjoyed on the side of the road, where the bison roamed. Ed and I gathered dried bison "chips" and Butch and Myrna picked up dead wood for our evening campfire. I had always read "prairie" stories about how the children were sent out to gather the chips for the fire, so it was something I wanted to experience. Our campfire was great, the wood and chips burning equally well, with no bad odor from the "processed grass". The Native Americans used them for their fires, almost exclusively. A sudden thunderstorm ended our campfire, but it had been a full day and we were ready to "hit the sack".

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