The intimacy of exploring the Black Hills through the spring has been abruptly interrupted by the start of the summer tourism season. And I’m not sure how I feel about sharing the wildlife, scenic overlooks, hiking trails and roadways with all these strangers.
I embrace the crowds and thoroughly enjoy sharing Custer State Park during the three days a week I volunteer in the visitor center. After all, I’m basically stuck inside for the day and so I readily send everyone to all my favorite places.
However, when its my turn to go out an explore the park, those tourists are still at my favorite places! It’s just Memorial Day, but the influx of people forces a practice of patience.
“Never forget your dreams.”— Korczak Kiolkowski, Crazy Horse Memorial sculptor
Even through the crowds the mood is overwhelmingly light and playful. The vast majority of people are on vacation, leaving the stresses of work and everyday life behind and are genuinely enjoying themselves.
The change of pace has been interesting as I have been stationary for the last six weeks. Exploring beyond the highlights, finding secret locations typically reserved for the locals, experiencing the wildlife and scenery at different times of day and night, and simply being present for unique encounters and adventures I would otherwise have missed has been rewarding.
With about ten weeks remaining here in the Black Hills, there is no doubt I am a nomad at heart and occasionally my mind wanders to what lies just a few miles further down the road.
The Black Hills are a special place and hands-down my favorite destination. Smelling the butterscotch of the Ponderosa pine, hearing the snorting of buffalo, gazing at the granite Cathedral Spires and trekking to Black Elk Peak are just a few of the core experiences. Enjoying new found friends while renewing old friendships that endure across miles complements the allure of the Black Hills.
Check out the images below for highlights from the last couple weeks. And I’m posting daily updates on TikTok @RVingRevealed.