We have been having a beautiful run of weather, but this afternoon it did it's thing once more. We have a thrunder storm watch until 9 pm tonight and have had a few angry Thunder storms once more threaten with angry skies!clouds around this afternoon but only a few drops of rain, so far! We will hope that is stays nice as we have a full campground and even a couple in the overflow area at horse camp. Hate to see folks have the weekend ruined when the come out to stay with us. None the less most eveyone seems to be having a good time so we hope that things continue for them.

The office and gift shop is located in one of the original ranch houses.Last Thursday we visited a refuge for wild or feral horsed that was started to allow some of them to once more roam the Black Hills which once had some fairly significant heards of them. It is a large ranch of about 13,000 acers which was once owned by two local ranchers who wanted see the free roaming mustangs return and so began a foundation that operates the refuge today and they also donated the land for them. Horses that live on it are decendants of those brought here by the founders as well as some additional ones that are rescued from those rounded up on BKM lands farther west which are not considered to be adoptable. A few come from other sources but all are allowed to range pretty much as they would in the wild. An interesting sidelight is that these mares are on birth control, via treated grain that is left out forHorses roam freely, must as they did before the lands were fenced. A mare with her foal of only a few months age seem to be posing for us.them and which proves to be about 80% effective. Some of the excess colts are sold when buyers can be found and the remainder live out their lives on the refuge. When visiting the refuge, it is about 16 miles to the south of Hot Springs, SD on SD71 and then 3 miles of gravel roads to the west. There is no cost to visit the ranch house area, but they also have a two hour guided tour that does cost. We took the guided tour and it was really a great one well worth the time spent. If you are in the area I suggest that you consider a visit to the Black Hills An alligator carved into the stone of a cave on the refuge property that is said to be from prehistoric times.Wild Horse Sanctuary.

In the tour you will not only get to see heards of horses that are organized into natural bands, much as happens in the wild, but there are Tom turkeys are strutting their stuff for the passing tour!also mares with foal, as birth control is not 100%, there are numerous wild trukeys that seem to be unafrain of the passing tours, and there are cliffs with petroglyphs as well as several historic sites and the locations of settings for several movies. The petroglyphs have been dated to be more than 1000 years old and there is even a carved alligator in one of the caves.There are also initials and dates from as early as 1800 to as recently as 1978. Since the founding ranchers bought the land in the early 80's the cliffs have been protected as much as possible from vandals.

A rather ugly looking buffalo cow came by and looked us over! We had another thunderstorm last night but once more dodged the main part with only a few minutes of very heavy rain. Just a few miles A nice pronghorn buck seemed to be posing for us! away there was a major hail storm with heavy rain. I guess we must be living right but we are sure ready for some dry weather. We did open up the shop building in case a visitor wished to take shelter but none did so, not even the people who had a tent & a pop-up!

Today we are off to Rapid City once more to do our tourist thing. I'll post some pictures from Custer State Park for now. I should have some new ones for the next entry.

Today is just a lazy day as we have done almost nothing! I took Pam out to dinneer last evening for her birthday. She is just a few years past the age to vote! devil

At present we have checked out one camper from yesterday and one in today. That seems to be about our limit today. It is the warmest day so far that we have experienced with temperatures in the mid 80's. Tomorrow we are back on the road to do more tourist things!

The park was completely full last evening and even one in the horse camp. Yesterday was a beautiful day but toward evening we had a really nasty looking storm roll in. Most of it went to our north and lots of hail in Hot Springs but we had only a few minutes of hard rain, with a very few, pea sized hail. Later, about 9 pm it rained very hard giving us another inch or more of rain in less than 2 hours. It was also a bit touchy as we had a full campground. today is cool but very pretty and few clouds. Weather forecast is for improving weather so we are hopeful!

Yesterday we took a trip to Chadron, NB to do some shopping. Hot Springs has only two small markets for groceries and a Shopco store for general merchandise. Chadron is our nearest Walmart, at 64 miles and the true super Walmart is in Rapid City and 87 miles away. We found that Chadron has change only a little in the 25 years since I was last there and really offers little for a tourist. Rapid City is a very interesting small city, several times as large as Chadron.

Today has been a bit busy as our summer intern was trying to get away a bit early to go home to eastern SD for the weekend. I helped him out by operationg a mower here in the campground and a few other minor chores. We also had a brief thunderstorm about 5 pm but it was mostly noise and little action. Tonight is Friday the 13th and a full moon, but it looks to be a beautiful evening all the same!

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