Saturday, September 8, 2012

Custer, SD #1

WOW! It was 36 degrees yesterday when we struggled out of bed and made for the coffee pot and the high is supposed to be in the 70s. That's just the kind of weather we had hoped to find in South Dakota. Even though temperatures this summer have been above seasonal averages here, maybe we've at last turned the corner into fall.

We're enjoying our time here in Custer. Custer's Gulch RV Park and Campground backs up to national forest land, and there are miles and miles of ATV and hiking trails to choose from. Since there are very few ATV riders here this time of year, we ordinarily have the trails all to ourselves. The dogs like it because they can go off-leash. However, Nickie and Kota must wear their packs while we're out. That's because packs signal to them that they're "working" and are supposed to stay on the trails instead of dasing off in pursuit of a deer, squirrel or whatever.

It works most of the time. Here the three of them were able to sit still for a moment for a picture. (Colt only wears a pack when we need him to carry water; he's a good boy and stays right with John and me on our walks.)

And here's a picture of what happens when Nickie and Kota disobey and leave the trail to hunt. Kota only had to go a few feet off the trail to catch this unwary squirrel. Nickie was right behind her, and after a short tug-of-war claimed it as her own. We wouldn't let her take it back to camp, so John tossed the carcass into a small tree on our way home. The next day she ran ahead and managed to retrieve it and carried it with her until we again tossed into the weeds.  This morning she quickly found it and carried it with us on our walk. She put it down a couple of times to dash off in pursuit of deer, but each time came back and picked it up again. Finally after 45 minutes she got tired of carrying it and dropped it beside the trail. We'll see if she can find it again the next time we walk that way.

Earlier in the week I was able to witness what I'm told is a twice-a-year event at the Crazy Horse Memorial north of Custer. After the evening laser light show, there was a "night blast" scheduled. The first photo above is of the mountain at dusk.  Look closely and you can see the face and below it the statue's outstretched arm.  The second, below, is part of the laser light presentation that shows how the memorial will look when it is finished. The third is the start of the "night blast." It began at the base of the memorial and traveled all the way up to the top. Quite a show! I'm glad I was there to see it.

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