Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Christmas Card Day

If you have ever opened a Christmas card with a scene of snow-covered hills and tall conifers with drooping, frosted boughs, you know what today has looked like here in the Black Hills.  

I woke this morning at 1:30 to a perfectly still and soundless white landscape.  (I’ll explain later why I woke in the middle of the night.)  By the time it was light, there was a 7”-8” layer on top of everything…picnic tables, cars, RVs, stumps, rocks and fallen logs…everything that doesn’t move!  

September 11 is reportedly the earliest recorded snowfall in Custer.  The snow has continued throughout the day, and as I write this, fat, fluffy flakes are steadily contributing to the soft, white carpet.  The accumulation hasn’t increased a lot, however, because the ground was warm and the bottom layer is melting as more snow falls.  Temperatures are expected to fall into the 20s tonight, so we may see even deeper drifts by tomorrow morning.  (Note the photo below is another view of the meadow where General Custer and his expedition camped in 1874.)

Here Lana, our neighbor, leans out her window to visit.

The dogs were at first hesitant to go out this morning, but they soon decided that snow offers great opportunities for fun.  

We took them for walks morning and afternoon, and had a hard time convincing them to come back into the RV.  Colt thought it was an especially nice way to celebrate his 8th birthday!

He rolled in it.

Kota hunted mice beneath the snow.

Both Rue and Kota found “treasures” in a not-very-long dead deer carcass.  Colt helped to bring them home.  

In the afternoon we took a drive into Custer State Park and up to Mount Rushmore via the Iron Mountain Road.  We enjoyed seeing the views of the snowy hills, pigtail bridges, tunnels, and a couple of deer feeding in the forest.  

We also caught a dim profile view of George Washington.  The rest of the faces on Mount Rushmore were obscured by the snow, as was the Crazy Horse Memorial.

We got back to the RV to find that our propane furnace had again failed to light, just as it had at 1:30 this morning.  It’s an intermittent problem; it started working around 8:30 a.m., and then faulted again while we were out and about.  Not to worry, though.  We have two electric space heaters, which keep us plenty warm if the furnace continues to be balky.  (We have ordered another one, however, and should be in fine shape by next week.  Of course, we’re supposed to have much more seasonal weather next week.)

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