After clouds, a thunder storm, some campground lights, and wrong locations I was finally able with Roy’s assistance to get some Milky Way pictures. June 11th was the night that both of us realized how dark the night is. We even got lucky and had just a tad of light from a building which allowed for some semi natural light painting. I will take any help I can get when it comes to lighting up the dark scenery. We are returning tonight to the same area just a different position.
I was spooked by the quiet of the night. It was funny we were near water so every little plop I heard the hairs on my neck would rise up. I lived in Florida so water + plop equals Alligator just saying. So there were no gators only maybe a turtle or two, we did see a sign for turtles not gators. I will say there were a couple of times during the night I did feel like I was being watched and it was not Roy’s eyes. It was just almost like whatever it was might have been just curious, if not I would have been eaten. I am not sure if this was intentional or not but I found that both of us were talking in hushed tones, it almost felt like when you were a kid and did not want to get caught talking in church. Very peaceful and strangely refreshing. I also tried my hand at some night landscape that I need to work on that is also another beast in it’s own way. As we were getting ready to leave Roy asked if I wanted to leave my tri-pod there until tomorrow, I said no. Well I get all packed and put me seat belt on and say I’m ready to go. He asked are you sure. I had left my tripod I am so glad he looks after me. (this is after he couldn’t stop laughing).
So I am finding the internet does not work very well during the day, maybe that’s when we are supposed to be out exploring. I did do a little bit of exploring earlier in the day due to internet not cooperating. Custer State Park is broke up into three scenic drive areas 1. Iron Mountain Road (twisty turning) leads to Mount Rushmore. This road also has pigtail bridges and one lane tunnels. 2. Wildlife loop here you will find bison, burros, Prairie Dogs, and an occasional deer. 3. Needles Highway there is a tunnel that feels like you are being threaded through a needle. That isn’t how it got it’s name. We will be driving each of these and I know I will have some pictures.
So before our night adventure began we decided to drive into the town of Custer. Yes, I bought a t-shirt. I also stopped in the visitor center where I got more travel books. I was also warned tongue in cheek – not to hang here during Sturgis unless I enjoy mega crowds. They are looking forward to it after last summer. After browsing through them I see a trip to Wind and Jewel cave in the future. Plus I found info on what to do when we are in Rapid City. After the adventure of the ‘big’ city we decided to head up to Sylvan Lake lodge (we were thinking dinner). The lodge was just too crowded and lacked parking. I was able to practice some landscapes and people scapes. So we took a short drive down the needles highway.
I do want to share a snippet or preview of one way traffic. Coming down the Needles highway we approach a one lane tunnel, there is a little bit of a bottle neck. We could have gotten on the end of this round of going through the tunnel but we waited. So after four cars went through coming towards us we decide to inch forward. Picture this we are inching our way in the tunnel and this little car enters the opposite end. A true game of chicken. (Roy did not back down). It was cute watching the little car creep out in reverse.
So for dinner we ended up at the Blue Bell Lodge, they have the sweetest lean Buffalo. (Which probably roamed the grounds at one point. ) They advertise that it is from South Dakota. From here we headed home did some web surfing and started our night adventure.
I am posting some photos of the buffalo from our first night in the park