Today was our day to visit Custer State Park. We started at the Visitors Center, which boasted an above-average movie. We’ve been to many state and national parks in our lifetime, and I think this is the first time we’ve seen a video that’s both in HD and has a celebrity narrator (in this case, it’s Kevin Costner, cashing in on the fame of Dances with Wolf).
From there we headed over to the park’s learning center, where my son occupied himself on earning a Junior Ranger badge. This one was quite involved, and while he went through the activities, I crossed the road for a solo hike on the Lover’s Leap trail.
The Lover’s Leap trail was a nice 4.4 mile loop. I saw a mother and baby deer on the steep climb up. The top reminded me of Arthur’s Rock back home. Same kind of vegetation and rock and comparable views (albeit without Horsetooth Reservoir). The trip down followed and criss-crossed a picturesque brook, home to fully 30% of the world’s poison ivy (as measured by acreage).
The family hiked up to meet me, and we departed on a drive around the Wildlife Loop Road. This is the highlight of visiting Custer State Park. We saw a herd of bison off in the distance, then visited a herd of (rather tame) wild burros.
As we continued around the loop, we met a larger bison herd. In fact, we got caught in a bison-induced traffic jam (known as a buffalo jam).
A longer hike awaited us the next day.