Sunday, June 5, 2011

Custer State Park - Day One

Hi all, Dianne here.  Back in the early '80s we first saw Custer State Park on a trip with our two little girls in our pop-up camper.  

(Sorry, Girls, Mom couldn't resist)  At the time we vowed to come back.  Now's the time!  On that trip, we made it all the way to Yellowstone and back to Indiana, with all the food prep, kid-tending, and short schedule that went with it.  Makes me tired to remember it!  This time we've allowed ourselves six full days to really experience all that this wonderful park has to offer.

Custer State Park is so unique that we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is not in the national park system.

We are in the Game Lodge campground, which affords us 50 amp electric, but no water or sewer.  Out come the paper plates this week!  Here's the view from our front windshield:

Here's a shot of our camp site:

Best of all, there is a two-mile paved hiking/biking trail (The Creekside Trail) right from our campground that winds along a small stream. 

 Great for walking the boys and for riding our bikes. 

 The trail goes right past the picturesque State Game Lodge, which served as the "Summer White House" for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927, and also was visited by President Dwight Eisenhower for several days in 1953.  

Our first full day in the park was spent driving the spectacular 14-mile Needles Highway.  The road winds through pine and spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen and rugged granite mountains.  

There were interesting tunnels and formations all along the drive.

I wish the photos had smell-o-vision, for the crisp, cool air was fragrant with pine.  

We stopped to hike around lovely Sylvan Lake.  Wow, what jaw-dropping scenery! 

 Bandido enjoyed the day with us, but Chaplin stayed behind because he does not enjoy twisty-curvy roads in the car.  We took so many photos on this hike (all are beautiful) that once again I made a slide show of them.  See link below if you have time to check them out (it's worth your time, these are especially pretty!):

After our hike we enjoyed a picnic lunch along the lake shore at yet another beautiful spot.

Once we completed the scenic drive, we drove on to Mount Rushmore.  We had taken our girls there during our '80s trip.  Since we have a national park pass, we thought we'd duck in for a quick re-visit and to get my National Park Passport stamped -- That is, until we realized it would cost $11 just to park the car.  Since we'd already "been there, done that" we drove right on by, and I snapped a quick shot from the road.  

Check back soon, for we have some awesome photos of the wild burros, pronghorns, and buffalo taken on the Wildlife Loop Road this morning.  

The pet photo of the day shows Bandido enjoying our campfire with us last evening.  We lovingly call him the "Big Lug," but he still thinks he's a lap dog!


Nancy and Bill said...

What a beautiful park!!

We spent one day driving the 14 mile road through Custer. Of course that was during our during our "Around The Country in 40 Days" full-timing experience. Can't wait to get back there and actually spend some time.

Until then,we will tag along and visit with you ;o))

Oh, if you ever decided to head back to South Carolina, you better let us know...we will probably still be here. No houses selling anywhere around here ;o((

Gin and Syl said...

Wow!! I want to be there!

Margie and Roger said...

What a beautiful place to park the RV and the surrounding gorgeous places. Each time I see Bandido I think how lucky he is to have become a part of your 'traveling show'. Don't you just love seeing those burros and buffalo! Makes me want to go west again.