Thursday, September 24, 2020
Our time in the Black Hills was over...a short visit compared to our other trips which are usually two weeks or more. Under normal circumstances we would have spent more time exploring the touristy areas, but this time it was all about the outdoors. It is sad that it took something like Covid to get us to re-discover such a wonderful place close to home, but we for sure will be back again sooner than later!
Most of the food we brought had been consumed so packing up didn't take long and we were on the road fairly early. Our most direct route to get to Interstate 90 was cutting through Custer State Park and it gave us a chance to see some more wildlife. Initially we thought we were going to put a check mark next to one more species on the Custer wildlife list...the mountain goat. Although the horns are similar it turns out these are female bighorn sheep. (The rams have the thick curled horns.)
|This what a mountain goat looks like...all white with a shaggy coat. Definitely not what we saw.|
As we passed by the State Game Lodge, tents were being set up for the three day arts festival scheduled to begin that morning at 10 am. This festival is held in conjunction with the annual Buffalo Round Up in Custer State Park.
Traffic was heavy through the park and there were many signs showing the parking areas for the round up the next day. The roundup was scheduled to start at 9:30 am but people would be lining up by 6 am. Seeing the roundup in person would be an impressive event, but being in the crowd with thousands of people does not sound fun to me...even in normal times.
|Photo of one section of spectators at this year's roundup.|
Two different viewing areas were set up on a hillside so spectators could watch as the bison were herded through the valley and into pens. Some of the buffalo would be auctioned off to keep the herd from growing too large and others would be vaccinated and released back into the hills to graze.
The event was live streamed the next day so we were able to enjoy it all on our big screen TV from the comfort of our family room. Here is a link if you want to watch the 2020 Custer State Park Annual Buffalo Round Up.