Highway Through the Needles, Custer State Park, Black Hills, South Dakota
Perhaps this beautiful but ominous sky should have warned us that . . .
the thunder, lightning and hail were almost upon us
On our long road trip this past July Bob and I stopped at parks and other places of interest both coming and going. One of the places we visited was Custer State Park in South Dakota. There are separate roads within the park so one can choose different things to see. We were able to do both the Wildlife Loop Road and the Highway Through the Needles. And while the day started out nice enough we did experience twenty-minutes or so of thunder, lightning with hail that left about 3 inches of hail on the road and hillsides before once again clearing.
As we rounded the bend we could see this large herd of bison
There were lots of calves and all seemed calm, grazing . . .
but just before the storm began the herd started moving closer to the road. This one is just a little too close, even looking through the closed car window.
The park is home to about 1500 bison aka buffalo. We came upon a herd of about 200 or 300, some were very near to the road and others were dispersed on the surrounding hills. A few minutes before the storm hit we noticed they were getting a little agitated and starting to move toward the trees and the roadway. Several cars, including ours, were parked along side watching the animals. Some people had gotten out to take photos. We decided we should move the car, as we knew once the herd started to cross the roadway we would have a long wait for all the animals to pass and we did not want to get too close. We had just pulled out and started then looked back to see the first bison beginning to cross the street. It was only a few moments later that the thunder and lightning started. The animals must have sensed the impending storm and started moving toward shelter.
Besides the buffalo some of the animals we saw --
Mountain goat and her two kids
The park named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer and established in 1912, is huge, covering some 71,000 acres and is home to a number of wild animals. The scenery is beautiful and the two routes we took were well worth the time. In addition to the wildlife area is The Needles shown on the card above. It is a region of granite pillars, towers and spires. Originally the Needles were suggested as the place for the carvings that eventually ended up on nearby Mt. Rushmore instead. The Needles attracts about 300,000 visitors a year both tourists and rock climbers.
Highway through the Needles parking area near the main attraction
The Eye of the Needle
The scenery and animals kept our attention and kept us in the car most of the time so not many flower photos this time
The new postcard below was found at the Mt. Rushmore gift shop, RP 498, and shows an example of the open wildlife region
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For more information, see: