LOCATION: Wind Cave National Park, in southwestern South Dakota
CAMPGROUND: Elk Mountain Campground, in Wind Cave. Like most national park campgrounds, it is rustic. Spaces far apart. Water available. Clean flush toilets. No dump station or electricity. Firepit and picnic table. $9/night with senior pass. 5 stars out of 5
WEATHER: Very nice. Less smokey. High 78
DRIVE: 4 hours
We got an early start at the Pine Bluffs Distillery, as we wanted to get to Wind Cave early enough to snag a first-come, first-served campsite. George was a bit excited…
We drove four hours straight north, slicing the state of Nebraska from its southern to northern points. The landscape was very bleak with grasslands and a lot of stone and sand bluffs. Kind of like the Badlands.
After setting up, we took off to explore Wind Cave and the adjacent Custer State Park. Both are known for their wildlife. We took a circular scenic route around the 2 parks.
We were lucky to see quite a lot. First, lots of prairie dogs…
Then, YAY – bison! We saw a lot farther away, then these next to the road.
Next up were wild burros. They have become habituated and tourists were petting and feeding them (right next to signs saying not to feed wildlife)….
An unexpected surprise was this lone coyote loping along the side of the road…
We also saw some pronghorns but they are too fast to photograph. The trees are really starting to turn. It was very pretty.
South Dakota does not have a fire ban, so George made a nice fire. He was happy!
DINNER: In the iron skillet on top of the campfire, he sauteed a mix of shrimp, onions, and mushrooms for me. Meanwhile, I made some pasta. I added the saute mix in with the pasta, then for flavor added cream cheese, horseradish, and some pizza peppers. The horseradish made it pop! The side was a nice lettuce/cucumber/tomato salad.
Right before bed, George went outside to ……(you know what). As he was standing there, an elk came right up to him. He said it was like a ghost. Cool!