George and I are in our last week in Custer!
It's starting to feel like fall here,
and we've had the fireplace on during the cool mornings and evenings.
There has been some rain storms lately..
..which always reward us with nice rainbows.
The deer are back now that the park is thinning out..
..and lots of turkeys!
We're getting our last bit of social time in with friends.
John & Jane Dean were staying in nearby Spearfish,
and came down to Custer to have lunch with us.
We ate at the Buglin' Bull, which has become
one of our favorite places to eat while we've been here.
Last time we saw them was in Campbellsville a couple years ago.
It was so nice to catch up with them again!
George and I have been wanting to get together with
Ray & Wendy again as well.
We made a date for today to explore Wind Cave National Park.
It was on our list of things to do,
so we were glad when Ray suggested we do that today.
They picked us up, and after a great breakfast at Our Place,
we headed over to the park.
It was a perfect day to do this, as it was gray & dreary out.
Using our VIP passes, we were able to save $6.00 each
and took the Natural Entrance Cave Tour.
One of the first explorers to find an entrance to the cave
was Alvin McDonald in 1890.
He kept a journal, writing things down on paper
with a pencil, and using candles to light his way.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt
signed a bill creating Wind Cave National Park.
It was the eighth national park to be named,
and the first cave to be protected.
Our guide, Hannah gave us a bit of history
of the cave, and showed us the first entrance.
We descended down several series of stairs,
stopping every so often to see different features.
Hannah pointed out frostwork and popcorn..
We made our way through tight passageways of the cave,
and there were more stairs, 300 in all!
Wind Cave is known for the abundance of 'boxwork',
which is calcite which was revealed as the limestone eroded away.
We concluded the tour with an elevator back up to the ground level.
The tour took us down 22 stories!
On the way back Ray took us down NPS road 5,
which had some great vistas of the prairie
in Wind Cave National Park.
Of course, the drive wouldn't be complete without
seeing these magnificent creatures..
..and wonderful wildflowers..
..and a great old one room schoolhouse.
We ended our day with ice cream at the Purple Pie Place.
Wendy surprised me by giving me one of the
beautiful pine needle baskets she creates.
I think it will go very nicely with my new buffalo carving!