A full rainbow mover the Black Hills.

The Start of Summer in the Black Hills

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.

Two buffalo walking very close to a parked fifth wheel RV.
Too close for comfort! 71,000 acres to roam and these two guys seem to think I have the very best grass. Fortunately, they eventually eased on their way to graze elsewhere and managed not to bump into my RV.
Natural rock formation of granite called the Cathedral Spires against a blue sky.
These granite rock formations called the Cathedral Spires fill the northern section of Custer State Park.
Close up of granite rock carving face of Crazy Horse Memorial.
Walking on what will become the extended arm of Crazy Horse and seeing the face up close was a great way to experience the granite rock carving.
Crazy Horse Memorial and scenic view of the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Black Hills of South Dakota extend to the west with an elevated view from atop Crazy Horse Memorial.
Buffalo standing in front of Devils Tower National Monument.
Devil’s Tower National Monument is just on the northwestern edge of the Black Hills in Wyoming.
Aerial view of Iron Mountain Road and the pigtail turns, bridge and tunnel.
Follow the road closely from the bottom left of the image around through a narrow tunnel across an old wooden bridge and circling back under the bridge before continuing on to Mount Rushmore.
A sign with a quote from Badger Clark against a scenic view of the Black Hills of South Dakota in Custer State Park.
“A place where one can still be an unworried and unregimented individual and wear any old clothes and sit on a log and get his sanity back again.” – Badger Clark, South Dakota’s First Poet Laureate, 1883-1957
Two mountain goats resting on the rocks.
A rare opportunity to see two mountain goats resting on the rocks.
An old building remains of an old mining town called Spokane, South Dakota.
A few buildings remain of an old gold mining town called Spokane, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
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