Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in South Dakota: Crazy Horse Volksmarch

October 1st, 2017

The bi-annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch is a rare chance to hike 10K through woodlands and scramble up hill to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. This is the most popular Volksmarch, attracting 15,000 walkers – including me.

The first time I went to Crazy Horse, I only viewed it from the visitor center. I didn’t realize how much I missed. Today’s hike was rocky, it was hilly and worth every strained breath, just to experience standing on Crazy Horse’s outstretched arm for a once in a lifetime view of his face.

Along the way hikers were teased by sneak peeks of the mountain carving through the trees, every time just a little bit closer. In the end, the view was outrageous. The level of detail put in his facial features we suddenly visible that can’t have been seen from the visitors center.

Cell phone tower in disguised as a pine tree.

Participating in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch as it is still in progress, is like wishing I could have seen the great pyramids being built. This is history in the making – and I was there. I stood on his outstretched arm! Even if you’re only able to ride up to the base, I highly recommend seeing the Crazy Horse monument from a different point of view, enjoy the fresh air and being surrounded by the natural beauty of the area.

View of Crazy Horse campus and parking areas from Crazy Horse

If Crazy Horse is ever completed, won’t it be amazing to see? And I’ll be able to tell the grandkids how I stood on his arm before he was finished. Amazing.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: 52nd Annual Buffalo Roundup

October 1st, 2017

“Feel the earth tremble.” People told me when I was encouraged to attend the annual Buffalo Roundup. The earth trembled as I felt I was transported to a scene from “Dances with Wolves” as the hooves of 1,200 massive buffalo shook the rolling prairie as they streamed over the hill while herdsmen on horseback spur them over the ridge, down the hill and into corrals for sorting.

The entire Custer State herd galloped by only a few hundred feet from my seat. Can you believe it?! Once the buffalo are safely in the corrals, spectators watch as real-life cowboys sort, brand, test, and treat the herd. Certain animals were selected for the fall auction. This is a public event you can’t experience anywhere else – and attracts more than 17,000 people each year!

Custer State Park is home to one of the largest American bison herds in the world. The annual roundup was started 52 years ago as a way to manage the herd and ensure there’s enough grass for all the animals. This keeps the population in balance with the available land and resources. Most return right back to their home, the grasslands of Custer State Park. Once on the verge of extinction, today there are about 500,000 buffalo across North America.

First buffalo sighting of the morning while driving into Custer State Park.

This buffalo showed up early and wandered around the field waiting for his brothers

I don’t know how they managed to feed pancakes to this crowd! It was very well managed and the pancakes were huge.

Custer State Park’s rolling prairies are beautiful

The crowds were entertaining and jovial

This buffalo didn’t get counted.

Neither did this one!

As if a thundering herd of massive wild animals isn’t enough, an Arts Festival is held the same weekend at the Custer State Game Lodge offering food, entertainment, and art booths for the visitors.

This is a Western experience I’ll never forget and will provide great storytelling to anyone willing to listen. If you’re unable to make it, you can put on your hat and watch these short videos from last year’s roundup in the comfort of your home: 1 minute video https://youtu.be/61xtwlEkngQ  the 10 minute video is like you’re there! https://youtu.be/91JoWjpIZS4

 

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.