Monday, September 10, 2012

Custer, South Dakota - 09/10/12

We departed Devils Tower, Wyoming at 11:30 a.m. We decided to take WY-24 east out of Wyoming into South Dakota so we can check out the scenery in the northeastern corner of Wyoming.

Our planned route was to be WY-24 to SD-34 to US-85 to I-90 to US-385 to US-16 to Custer, South Dakota. Well, that plan turned into a slight detour. Just before we got onto I-90 I decided I would use our trusty GPS to guide us to Custer, South Dakota, from the intersection of US-85 and I-90. Big mistake! It took us to the right exit off of I-90 and then took us through a very scenic 20-mile drive through a curvy Canyon road in South Dakota. After a considerable amount of time had passed, Sharon mentioned we were entering Wyoming. Sure enough, the coordinates I entered into the GPS for Custer routed us through to US-85 in Wyoming, then south on US-85 to east on US-16 into Custer. So, what was supposed to be a 120 mile trip turned into a 177 mile trip. Such is life!

We finally arrived at our destination, Game Lodge Campground in Custer State Park at 3:30 p.m. We had stayed at this campground in 1996 and had enjoyed it so much we decided to return for another stay.

Game Lodge Campground is a spacious area with 55 campsites, some shaded and some with electrical hookups. We were fortunate to get site 44E that has electric and some shade with an open area. There is a Laundromat on the premises, which is a nice added feature to this campground. Our campsite is located adjacent to a creek that provides a soothing sound from the water flowing through it. During the early evening hours, deer come to the creek to drink from it and graze. Later in the evening the sound of Coyotes yelping in the distance and an occasional Owl hooting fill the air.

There is a herd of approximately 1,450 Bison that are dispersed throughout this state park. Our campground is protected on three sides by a fence and the entrance is fitted with a metal cattleguard embedded in the road to prevent the Bison from entering the campground. The log fence consists of two horizontal logs spaced about three feet apart attached to two five-foot high vertical logs on each end. However, the fourth side of the campground faces a creek. The other side of the creek is a heavily forested hilly area with no visible barrier. We have not seen any bison pies on the ground within the campground, so all is well! On our visit here in 1996 there were several Bison grazing right outside of the campground.

Custer State Park is a very large park, encompassing 71,000 acres of which 50,000 acres are forested. There are nine campgrounds located within the park. Wildlife is abundant here, comprised of Bison, White-Tailed Deer, Mule Deer, Pronghorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Burros, Coyotes, Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Prairie Dogs, Wild Turkeys and the top of the food chain; the Mountain Lion.

We are settled in for the night and looking forward to a new adventure on tomorrow

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