Presidents and Wildlife
Today we got up around 6:30 AM to get breakfast and then head out to Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park. The drive out to Mount Rushmore took about 30 minutes, and was a nice drive. We parked in the parking garage and walked up to the main walkway. The main walkway is wide and frames the President’s carved into Mount Rushmore. The Monument is impressive, from both the size and the level of technology used to carve it. We attempted to walk the President’s Trail, a 1-mile loop trail at the base of Mount Rushmore, but about half way around it was closed so we had to turn around and go back. After, we were done visiting Mount Rushmore we took the scenic byway to Custer State Park. The scenic byway was the longer route but worth it. It had a lot of twists and turns but it was nice drive. While the Impreza did a nice job going through the curves, I still wish I would have had a little sports car to cruise on the road and really hug the curves.
We went Custer State Park, to drive the wildlife loop and see animals. The loop is about 18 miles around and we drove about half of it, because the bison herd was at the bottom of the loop. Along the way we saw some pronghorns, prairie dogs, burros, and of course bison. When we saw the burros, we stopped to feed them carrots. You are allowed to feed the burros carrots and apples because they are not native or considered wild. The burros are descents of the burros abandoned by miners of the black hills. The burros are known as the “begging burros” and really are pushy when you are holding a bag of carrots. Four carrots is not enough, even when you break them apart. I think the one was thinking of knocking me over and grabbing the bag of carrots from me. Overall they are friendly, and are comfortable around people. Highly recommend seeing the burros. By the time we go to the bottom of the loop and saw the bison, it was lunch time.
My complaint is they need more specific signs. I wanted to get to a town to have lunch but none of the signs stated how far to anything. We ended up driving through Wind Cave National Park to get to Hot Springs. It is not that far, but when you have no cell signal to use GPS or specific road signs it gets frustrating. We did make it to historic Hot Springs, which has next to nothing but ended up stopping at visitor center. The lady at the visitor directed us to a little cafe to eat, where we had sandwiches. After lunch we went back up to road to the Wind Cave visitor center. Sadly, the only cave walks left were late in the day. So we did the short prairie loop trail and decided to come back a later day in the week to take a cave tour. From Wind Cave we headed back to the hotel for the day, on the regular freeway.
Tomorrow we plan on heading out to Badlands National Park.