Panoramic view of the Black Hills with mountains and forests.

Finally, Spring in the Hills!

The spring vibe is palpable throughout the Black Hills as seasonal workers trickle in and hurried preparations are underway amid the slightly warming temperatures. The peak tourist season is merely a couple weeks away.

Gas stations, motels, restaurants, visitor centers, museums and attractions of all kinds are readying to embrace the millions of visitors making their way to western South Dakota this summer.

The buffalo calves have been born and the prairie is a Romper Room of the little ones playing. The clean cinnamon color of the new calves is a stark contrast to the older buffalo who at this point look a little rough while in various stages of shedding their winter coats. They are fun to watch as they rub against trees and rocks to scratch the winter hair off hard to reach places on their backs and behinds.

The bluebirds are frantically putting their finishing touches on their nests. The deer, pronghorn, and elk seem pleased to see fresh and nutritious green grass emerging after a winter of nuzzling through the snow to forage.

“The world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.”

– Hans Christian Anderson, Danish author

I found a little purple pasque flower – the first flower to bloom in the Black Hills and a definitive sign that spring is imminent. As the nights hover just above freezing, and the days are warmed by the sunshine, growth is urgent and a bouquet of other flowers will soon follow.

The streams are flowing as the last of the winter snow drifts melt. The sun is reducing the ice on the lakes, and ripples can be seen around the outer edges as the ice is dwindling and forced back into its summer liquid state.

Finally, spring has arrived in the Black Hills of South Dakota!

Purple and green light the night sky produced by the northern lights.
Occasionally I land in the right place at the right time and there’s an unlikely occurrence that is a delightful surprise. The aurora borealis or northern lights were visible in South Dakota on April 23rd and I endured a frigid night on the prairie to witness the rare spectacle.
Large buffalo bull walking by door to RV.
The wildlife roams freely in Custer State Park, and I never know what will be just outside my RV door.
Flames and ash from prescribed wildfire.
Prescribed burns help to maintain healthy vegetation, prevent invasive species and reduce hazardous debris and dead vegetation buildup which can fuel wildfires.
A buffalo walks adjacent to a newborn calf.
Calving season for the bison at Custer State Park producing the vulnerable little 40 pound cinnamon colored creatures that will mature approaching 2,000 pounds.
Purple pasque flower.
It was cold, windy and rainy and I was trying to finish my hike, but had to snap a quick (and poorly focused) pic of the pasque flower.

Check out my daily videos on TikTok ! Here’s my recent video of buffalo running…

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