Oh what a day what a day.

Custer Travel Blog

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Mt. Coolidge, a fire tower, this is fire damage from the Galena fire in 1988.

Hola! We headed for the road this morning at 10:33 ready for a fun filled day of South Dakota-ness. We were a little worried b/c a forest fire broke out in Box elder Canyon near where our cabin was. We didn’t hear anything from Joan so we figured everything was ok….I’ll get to that later.

We finished Custer State Park by driving what we missed yesterday and we started with Mt. Coolidge. It’s not really a mountain, but a fire tower where you can see everything from Crazy Horse to Mt. Rushmore. It also gave a description of the Galena fire that tore through the park in 1988. It’s amazing to see how severe the damage is still today. The timeline said that by 2030 the fire destroyed area would be re-grown and repopulated by wildlife. The drive up the side of the mountain made me dizzy and it was unbelievable.

We came back down the mountain to see the rest of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway along with Iron Mountain Road.

Our 2nd view of Mt. Rushmore from the Needles Hwy
On our way down we noticed people stopping and realized a fire had broken out in the park due to lightning the night before. It was about 3 miles off but still the smoke was insane. We saw two planes and a helicopter circling the area along with a park ranger and a fire truck speeding to the fire. We finished up Custer State Park and decided to head towards Nemo to settle in our cabin. On our way out I got my first view of Mt. Rushmore from a distance and I was awe stricken. We saw it quite a few times but the most memorable one was coming out of tunnel 3 and seeing it framed by the pines in the forest. J

We headed towards Keystone to get to our cabin and I was bowled over by the amount of shops and people in the town!! I knew it’d be crazy but they are wall to wall from the start of town to the end.

Helicopters carrying water to the Box Elder Canyon Forest Fire
We finally found our way down Nemo Road to get to Rockridge Ranch where we were told we couldn’t go any farther b/c of the Box elder Canyon fire. L So we drove back to town to call Joan from our cell. As we regained a signal we called and found out they were not evacuated but we’d have to take the long way around (which turned a 25 minute drive into an hour) along with driving some ridiculous windy gravel roads. As we made our way there we saw numerous planes dumping water on the fire along with a few helicopters. We were apprehensive about staying somewhere near the fire but it seems to be under control for now. The place is GORGEOUS. It’s butted up against the black hill forest and I’ll be attaching pictures of it. The owners are nice and they have 2 horses that Beethoven is getting acquainted with….well more like growling at when he can get away with it. We went into Sturgis to get some groceries and grab some dinner and then headed back to the “Barnhouse” to settle in. Until tomorrow!!

Ciao!

ladybuglover_01 says:
I love Keystone. It's amazing to see people everywhere like little ants just running about.
Posted on: Aug 10, 2007
sugarhigh321 says:
We go to keystone almost every summer...it's our favorite little town!!
Posted on: Aug 10, 2007
ladybuglover_01 says:
Thank goodness it didn't get too bad. It was still smoldering for quite awhile even after the two rain showers we got.
Posted on: Aug 02, 2007
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Mt. Coolidge, a fire tower, this i…
Mt. Coolidge, a fire tower, this …
Our 2nd view of Mt. Rushmore from …
Our 2nd view of Mt. Rushmore from…
Helicopters carrying water to the …
Helicopters carrying water to the…
More helicopters taking water to t…
More helicopters taking water to …
The view from our porch at the Cab…
The view from our porch at the Ca…
An old Model T out fron of our cab…
An old Model T out fron of our ca…
The front of the Cabin
The front of the Cabin
Side of cabin
Side of cabin
Gus guarding our shed out back
"Gus" guarding our shed out back
Beethoven growling at Jigs and Nug…
Beethoven growling at Jigs and Nu…
Jigs and Nugget
Jigs and Nugget
Mt. Coolidge, a fire tower, this i…
Mt. Coolidge, a fire tower, this …
Mt. Rushmore from Mt. Coolidge, it…
Mt. Rushmore from Mt. Coolidge, i…
Crazy Horse from Mt. Coolidge, it…
Crazy Horse from Mt. Coolidge, it…
Historic Marker along the Needles …
Historic Marker along the Needles…
Beethoven and I at the Civilian Co…
Beethoven and I at the Civilian C…
A helicopter scoping out a fire at…
A helicopter scoping out a fire a…
People feeding donkeys at Custer S…
People feeding donkeys at Custer …
Our first view of Mt. Rushmore
Our first view of Mt. Rushmore
Custer
photo by: WaltJake