Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...Then Bears and Lions, Oh My!

This time it was 2:00 a.m. when the storm hit. And hit, it did! Flashes of bright lightning followed almost immediately by loud claps of thunder. There was to be no sleeping through that! It went on for what felt like and hour, and I began to think we might escape any rain. Not so fast. The rain came all of a sudden, very heavy. Before it was over, I wondered if we would float away. I got up several times to check on everything. The Castle held up just fine. I sure felt for the people here in the campground who are in tents, though. I can't imagine staying in a tent through that storm, but I also couldn't imagine getting out of the tent to seek any other shelter.

Finally, it quieted down and we got back to sleep. We got up around 8 and got started on the morning. Yesterday evening, we made a list of all the activities we still want to do while we're here. It became clear we hadn't planned enough time here in the Black Hills of South Dakota, so one of the things I did this morning was go pay for another week here at Broken Arrow Campground.

We didn't know what the day would bring in terms of weather, so we decided today would be a good one to visit Bear Country, U.S.A.. After a quick breakfast, we got underway. It's close to 40 miles from Custer to the drive-through wildlife park. The instructions specify not to leave your windows open while driving through the park. We cheated a few times since it was gray and rainy part of the time. At the end of the drive-through sections is an opportunity to park and walk through babyland.

I had a very difficult time picking which pictures to post today! In addition to bears, the park houses elk, reindeer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, fox, timber wolves, arctic wolves, mountain lions, as well as an assortment of small mammals.

Throughout the bears' area, there are climbing (and relaxing) opportunities for them:

A bear and timber wolf check each other out:

This guy was big!

The grizzlies were pretty laid back:

Babies climbing

The newest baby:

Beautiful arctic wolf:

And fox:

This racoon looks cute and innocent! I know better!

The bobcat:
A baby big horn

And the peacock:

After our tour, we headed to the little town of Keystone and had lunch before heading home for our afternoon relaxing time.
This day has flown by, what a great one it's been.


Joe and Sherri said...

I would hate to meet up with one of those bears in the woods! I think the way you viewed them is the way we would. Thanks for sharing your trip with us

Sherri and Joe

Karon said...

Great pictures! Makes me wish we had made it up there.

Keep on having fun!!!
Miss you!

Hugs, K

Kram-a-lot Inn said...

We too cheated went in Bear Country and our windows were down alot. You got some great pictures of the animals in babyland!

Enjoy the rest of your time in the Black Hills and be safe on your journey.

Look forward to seeing ya down the road

Maureen said...

Thanks for sharing Ellie.. Sure wish we were back there NOW!!! I so enjoy your blog and to see what to expect when we finally hit the road. Hope all is well with you and Jim and hope to see you in travels soon!

CowgirlCreations said...

Ellie- so sorry we didn't stop to see you on Sunday! As you've found out, time in the Black Hills flies by! We were very tired by the time our Jewel Cave tour was over. Hope to meet up at another spot someday :-)

Mark and Dortha said...

Looks like those baby bears have grown up since we were there. Glad to hear you are having a great time in the Black Hills. Be safe and we look forward to your next adventure.