We finally left Nebraska with some big parks in our sites: the Black Hills, the Badlands, and Yellowstone.
Let’s start with the Black Hills. We spent a few nights in Custer, then went to the Badlands (we will post about them later), and then headed back to Rapid City to pick my parents up at the airport. They were brave enough to think that a road trip sounded fun, so they will be traveling with us through the Black Hills and then across Wyoming to Yellowstone. Here are our South Dakota trails…
As you can see, I even wrote a reminder to myself that the bikers would be in Sturgis early August. It was their 75th anniversary this year…they had close to 900,000 bikers. To put that into perspective, that is about the same amount of people as the population of the entire state of South Dakota.
Getting back to the Black Hills, They are named for their dark appearance due to all of the pine trees. The southern end has some prairie features, before the hills begin with ponderosa pines. Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park are perfect viewing for…Buffalo! Buffalo! Buffalo!
Buffalo are in their rut in August, so the males return to the herd during that time. We did take a great video of some awesome behavior, and as soon as we stay somewhere with decent internet; I will upload it. For now, satisfy your wild west fever with these photos…
Here you can see a male singling out and following a female…
Along with the buffalo, we also saw plenty of pronghorn antelope. These animals are the fastest mammals in North America and can run at speeds of up to 60 mph.
Did you notice that little photo bomber??? There are plenty of prairie dogs too! Always on the look out, ready to send up the alarm and pose for the camera.
The southern end of the Black Hills is also home to Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, so if you are in to caves, you can visit these.
Leaving the southern end, the hills continue to build. After several weeks on the plains, it was striking for us to see hills and trees.
The Black Hills are also the home of white tail deer, mule deer, beaver, mountain lion, big horn sheep, mountain goats and more. There are no bears in the Black Hills, which was odd for us, as we are so accustomed to looking for them in forested areas.
As we explore the Black Hills, we will be on the look out for who is watching us.