Monday, September 14, 2009

More of Custer State Park

Like I said, there is more to Custer State Park than just animals. Saturday we drove to Wind Cave National Park on the south side of the state park. It isn't the most interesting cave we have ever toured. But it is different and contains most of the known box-work formations in the world's caves. In simple terms—the only geologic terms I understand—one kind of mineral seeped into the cracks in the limestone. Later, water and gypsum filled the cavities and dissolved the limestone between the minerals that filled the cracks. The box-work is composed of the minerals that filled the cracks and remained.

The cave has more than 132 miles of explored passageways. The air in the cave reacts to the atmospheric pressure outside. When the outside pressure is greater than the cave pressure, the air comes out of the natural cave entrance. Saturday it was coming out at 8 miles per hours—demonstrated by the waving bellow ribbon held by our ranger guide.

The town of Custer is just west of our campground. A number of these painted buffalo decorate the street corners in Custer. It is a neat little town.

This is the Game Lodge, built in 1922, of stone and wood. It served as the "Summer White House" for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and was visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for several days in 1953.

Just north of Custer State Park is the Mt. Rushmore memorial. We were last there 25 years ago. On our visit today we saw the many wonderful improvements they have made to the facility. And the carvings of these presidents are as wonderful as ever.

To reach Mt. Rushmore we drove the Needles Scenic Highway, which is VERY curvy. In addition to a lot of 10 mph curves, there were several marked 5 mph.

But the scenery was really great. Here are two views of the Needles in an area called the Cathedral Spires.

This is a narrow place in the road called the Eye of the Needle.

I have to include another picture of the wonderful buffalo here.

And have I mentioned how much we appreciate our Verizon broadband card? Here we sit in the middle of a state park, in the forest. We haven't seen a sign advertising wifi anywhere. And we have a great internet signal. Aren't modern inventions wonderful?

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