Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Black Hills-Hermosa: Day 1 & 2

We arrived at Heartland RV in Hermosa, SD late Thursday afternoon.  We were tired and didn’t do anything else that evening.


Friday we did the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park to Hwy 87.  This was our first encounter with a herd of bison.  A couple of them were acting up right next to the truck and it was quite exciting.  In addition to bison we saw the burros although they were not near the road.  We saw a prairie dog town with “Wyllie” coyote hanging around for a snack.  There were turkeys, mule and white-tailed deer, mountain goats, pronghorn and bighorn sheep.  2013 Sep 06_Custer State Park SD_0481

The bison were very close to the truck.

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Prairie Dog (the coyote was hanging around but was too far away to get a good photo.

Then we left the park and went south to Hot Springs to the Mammoth Site.  Since the discovery of the site in 1974, 121 mammoth tusks (this is how they determine the number of mammoths) representing 61 mammoths-58 Columbian and 3 Wooly as well as 85 other animal species, plants and insects. We were too late for the summer programs.  They had atlatl lessons in the summer and I really wanted to try that but alas it was not to be. On the way home we completed the remainder of the Wildlife loop.

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After a 90 minute pit stop at the trailer to have a sandwich and take the dogs for a walk, we headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial to see the Laser Light Show and Night Blast. This was 37 miles from the RV Park.  The gates were to open for evening events at 6 p.m. They were taking a food pantry collection in lieu of admission.  Three canned items per person.  We got there slightly before 6 p.m. and the main lot was already full, so we had to hike from the far lot.

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This is what The Crazy Horse Memorial looks like today.  When we were here 25 years ago he had no face. 

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This is what the Memorial will look like when it is finished.  They pull this statue out when the weather is good.

We learned that Thursday there was a hail storm at Crazy Horse with baseball-sized hail.  Many cars were badlly damaged with 9 damaged so badly that they had to be towed.  Then Friday there was another hail storm and there were still piles of hail on the ground around the buildings.

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Hail at Crazy Horse

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Tom saving our spot for the show.

We had a wait before the show was to begin and we were wondering what we would do for three hours.  No problem.  There was a video presentation, Indian Museum of North America, Tribal Flag Collection, art exhibits, gift shop and a dance demonstration by the 6 times great grandson of Sitting Bull.

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Beaded horse saddle and accessories in the Indian Museum of North America.

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Six times great-grandson of Sitting Bull

The problem is we didn’t know we would be standing for 3 hours beforehand and  we were sore when we were done. I forgot my jacket and it got cold while were were waiting. 

Nightly Crazy Horse has a Laser Light Show. Friday’s show was different as there was also the Night Blast a pyrotechnic display to observe the death of Crazy Horse and the 105th birth date of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. Cake was served afterwards. Both the laser show and big blast were great. By the time we got back to the trailer it was 10 p.m.

Crazy Horse Memorial was great and I highly recommend it if you are visiting the Black Hills Area.  I must note that the Crazy Horse is supported entirely by private funding.

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