That is what I thought this little boy’s name was and whose family was nice enough to stand and look at Mount Rushmore while I took photos. His name was Rust but more on that in a bit. (I promise I have taken photos.) Staying in one place we have put on 500 miles just driving around the park taking photos and getting stopped by buffalo. But I digress.
This a.m. Thursday the 17th of June we planned to get up early and head to the Iron Mountain Road that leads to Mount Rushmore. This road has three one lane tunnels that perfectly frame the mountain, as many of you know this was my goal to get the perfect framed shot of Mount Rushmore. So we are driving up the road and off to the side on a hill we see 3 very large male buffalo, these guys know how to disappear, when calves are around.
Upon arrival I set up my camera and tripod then proceeded into the middle of the road. Catching good light we were there at 8:30 am Roy got up and we got going before 7am. (I promised him biscuits and gravy from a restaurant we ate at 10 years ago.) This trip I have been practicing making adjustment s to my exposure settings by using the f/stop more then anything. I try different positions and settings trying to get the perfect light. One other thing I am learning is patience, I still want to get a few shots and leave. If you do that then everything changes from leaving early. This proved true today. Enter Micah I mean Rust.
This family with 2 young children pulled up behind where Roy was parked, and looked a little worried that they might be blocking us because I was moving my camera I said no just taking pictures. They proceed through the tunnel to get a better view and I get an idea. I get the shot all set up and ready to click away they then move. I did ask them to stop move a tad and turn around, I was happy they did. They walk back and I show them the pictures and the little boy has a handful of Mica so I said ok thinking that was his name. He then walks away to find more and comes back to give me a tiny piece. I then find out that his name was Rust. It is amazing how people come into your life. The boy is into gems and fossils so I suggested them go to “The Museum at Black Hills Institute” in Hill City. I gave them my blog info and will be posting their picture. Later in the morning I was able to catch another family gazing at Mount Rushmore. I think the trip to the tunnel was a success.
We head back towards camp to grab an early lunch about 11am we arrive at ‘Wolf Camp’ This is a restaurant that we discovered the first time we came through Custer State Park in 2013. It has changed a bit from just being a roadside stand now it has a campground and the restaurant. I like the hours 8 am at the earliest to open 10 am at the latest to open. It was funny we found the restaurant the first time by accident and the second time by pure luck we were taking a short cut to get to Iron Mountain Road. (It was right where I thought it was) I said it was at a place where the road went off to the right if you were coming from Mount Rushmore it was on the left. I just didn’t know where. From here I did a little shopping stopped at one of the welcome centers then set off for buffalo.
We found buffalo alright we were part of a train. It was something that has never happened in all of our travels the herd was moving down the road in front of us. There had to be 200 head moving up the hill on the road, took us 45 minutes. So to get out of traffic after the herd moved on we took a dirt road that the visitor center said buffalo had also been spotted being we got lucky again. The wildlife loop drive today was to go in search of the burros and feed them, which we did find in the perfect spot. I did not feed them though I was able to enjoy a mother nursing her foal.
Then tonight we topped off with an outdoor play called the Marvelous Wonderlettes. The musical was held at the Blackhills Playhouse on an outdoor stage. It featured music from 1948 and 1958. The best part of the musical was this was the dress rehearsal and it was give what you can tickets. It being a musical the sponsors’ ads were even sung. This was a perfect ending to a photastic day.