This weekend guided hike started at the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center at Custer State Park. It was meant to be a snowshoe hike, but there wasn’t enough snow. No worries, I still looked forward to experiencing the solitude of winter in Custer State Park However there were approximately 100 others as we hiked on a trail overlooking Game Lodge Campground. The hike was a two miles long trail that parallels Grace Coolidge Creek and is geared toward the basics of identifying bobcat and mountain lion tracks in the snow.
The trail took us to the eastern limit of the Custer fire where we were given a lesson about the recent fires which were still smoldering and smelled horrible. Sadly 10 Bison had to be put down due to burns to their eyes and mouths. The remaining herd is being fed hay since the grasses they normally forge was burned by the 12 foot high flames. They require 20 large circular bales a day! Did I mention the area still smells? It’s an awful stench that is expected to be around until Spring revival. While the fire was devastating to the landscape, renewal and regeneration is at work under a blanket of healing snow.
Custer State Game Lodge: https://custerresorts.com/lodges-and-cabins/state-game-lodge/