7/8/12 Edgemont to 5 miles north of Crazy Horse monument in S.D. – 57 miles
Had a great night’s sleep, and the coffee was ready when I got up. Sat on the porch for a while admiring the vista and going through my morning ritual. As I watched, the small herd of sheep came up and I took some pictures. My favorite was of the sheep grazing next to this old basketball goal in the pasture – The Sheep Team. One of the little ones stared right at the camera. I may have to frame this one when I get home.
Mark took us into Edgemont and we ate breakfast before heading out. The first 27 miles to Pringles were really tough. Repeated long uphill climbs followed by less than satisfying downhills. I felt tired and was a little discouraged. About 5 miles before Pringles, we got on the Geroge Mickelson bike trail. This is a trail about 100 miles
long that has crushed gravel and no motorized vehicles. Other advantages include a more flat route – certainly less of a grade incline than the road, and beautiful behind the scenes scenery. My mood began improving considerably. We stopped at Pringle and had a cold drink and some snacks. The next 12 miles to Custer were fabulous! We coasted along and the scenery was stunning in places. At one point, I came upon a herd of buffalo with many babies. Also saw a lot of horses today with many babies. At another point, this doe was sprinting across a green grassy field followed by her baby fawn that was gleefully sprinting along behind her. It was fun to watch.
In Custer, we had a late lunch at Subway. I was dying for some veggies and healthy food at that point, and enjoyed my chicken spinach salad immensely. Then it was on to the Crazy Horse Monument. What a treat and so well done. At he request of Indian tribal leaders, this polish sculptor began carving Chief Crazy Horse on his horse out of the mountain in the 1930’s. The informational video at the center was one of the most well-made of its type I have seen. The Presidents on Mt. Rushmore are much smaller in scale than Chief Crazy Horse. And it will be years before it is completed. Certainly well after I leave this earth. The other unique aspect is that the project is funded entirely by private donations – no state or federal funds. The entire center and project were so well done that I would recommend a visit to anyone who visits this area. I don’t yet know how Mt. Rushmore will compare, but will let you know.
After Crazy Horse, we got back on the Mickelson bike trail for another 5-6 miles and met Frank at a state park where we are camping for the night. Today was Frank’s birthday, and Randy cooked up a big pot of Uncle Ben’s rice (2 varieties) with my vegetable beef soup and Frank’s Shurfine vegetables mixed in. We also had sliced apples and multi-grain sandwich thins on the side, and cookies for dessert. I topped it off with Starbucks via.
After a rough start, another great day all in all. Tomorrow we are off to Mt. Rushmore.