Sunday, June 29, 2014 The sky was crystal clear and the air was cool this morning. We could see the snow-capped peak of Elk Mountain (12, 579) off in the distance from our campsite.
It was 50 degrees to start the day, but it warms up very quickly with the sun. The winds picked up very quickly too, increasing 30 mph, with gusts to 40. We had to really hold on to the door, so it wouldn’t get ripped out of our hands. The locals say that if it wasn’t windy, it would be very hot, so the winds are welcome (but not this strong). The temp. was 77 today, but the forecast is for 90’s for the rest of the week. That’s why this campground gives out an ice cream treat when you arrive. It’s usually very hot here. Hopefully, the winds will die off for our drive tomorrow. I helped Bob finish cleaning the tar off of the trailer. It was suggested we use charcoal lighter fluid to clean off the tar. The trouble with that is, it leaves an oily residue, so then we had to wash it. While Bob finished up with that, I took Auggie for his morning walk. On the way back, we saw a bluebird sitting on the fencepost. What a treat! I wish I would have had my camera with me. Once we were done with everything, we packed up and headed out to the Little Bighorn Battlefield around 11:30. But first, we stopped at the town of Garryowen. Garryowen is the old Irish tune that was the regimental marching song of the U.S. 7th Calvary, General George Custer’s command.
We stopped in to see the Custer Battlefield Museum, which also included a “trading post”.
Inside there was a library of books on Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn. It also included lots of Indian goods for sale.
Outside there was a memorial to the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. So many soldiers that died at little Bighorn have no names on their tombstones. There was also a bust of Sitting Bull and General George Custer represented there.
They had a nice map of the battlefield to help people understand the battle itself.
From there, we drove to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument which lies within the Crow Indian Reservation. I used my Senior Pass to get us into the park for free. The Senior Pass has already paid for itself.
We parked the truck and walked to the National Cemetery there, which was established in 1886.
Many men from the Indian battles are buried here. Many of these have no names engraved on the tombstones, just the words “U.S. Soldier of the 7th Calvary”. There are also soldiers from World War I and II and the Korean War.
We went into the Visitor’s Center to view the 20 minute orientation film which explained the battle in detail and the reasons behind it. There were also many displays to look at inside. From there, we walked up to “The Last Stand” hill, the memorial to the 7th Calvary. These soldiers have markers placed where they were found laying on the ground.
On this knoll, Custer and about 41 men made their stand. About 10 men, including Custer and his brother, are found in the vicinity of this memorial. Custer’s remains were later reinterred at West Point and the rest of his command were buried in a mass grave around the base of the memorial.
In 1999, the National Park Service began erecting red granite markers at known Cheyenne and Lakota warrior casualty sites.
Across the road from Last Stand Hill, is a fairly new memorial erected to the Indian warriors who fought at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Inside a stone wall enclosure are plaques depicting the Indian Chiefs and tribes of the time.
There is even a memorial stone marker for the horses of the 7th Calvary who were killed in this battle.
From there, we hopped in the truck and started our self-guided driving tour. Not far from where we started, we were stopped by a Park Ranger who told us to drive carefully because there was a battle re-enactment going on and there would be horses crossing the road. Sure enough, we turned the corner and saw these soldiers and Indians on the top of the hill.
At the bottom of the hill near the Little Bighorn River, spectators were observing the re-enactment.
We were told that we couldn’t stop along the road, so we pulled off in the grass to listen and watch. Where we stopped, I could see something up ahead. I got out to take a closer look. It was the carcas of a cow, most of it eaten.
I wish I could have taken this skull, but we were on Indian land and I didn’t think it was appropriate.
After awhile, these soldiers pulled up in a truck to participate in the re-enactment.
We started to leave the area, when I saw the “calvary” mount up and start to move out. I wish we could have stayed longer, but the Park Ranger was giving us the “eyeball” and it was time to move on.
We continued on with our driving tour. Along the way, there were descriptive kiosks to explain what happened in the area. They gave additional informational to accompany brochure that we were given when we arrived.
We saw quite a few clusters of free-roaming horses grazing in the fields. They were so beautiful!
We enjoyed visiting here and learning about Custer’s Last Stand and the Battle of Little Bighorn. This monument memorializes the battle fought on June 25, 2014 between the Lakota Sioux (Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse), Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians against the United States Army. These tribes were fighting to preserve their traditional way of life as nomadic buffalo hunters. The Army was carrying out instructions to remove the Indians to the Reservation in the Dakota Territory. You know the rest of the story. We spent over 2 enjoyable hours at the battlefield. From there, we drove across the road to the Custer Battlefield Trading Post.
The parking lot was overflowing, but we were lucky enough to get parking spot and a table right away.
We were here for Indian tacos and were told this was the place to get them!!! We weren’t disappointed!!
They are served on a light “pillow” of Indian frybread. It is absolutely delicious with a slight hint of sweetness…not greasy. Seasoned ground beef, beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese were placed on top. Salsa and sour cream were served on the side. Yum!! We were full and ready for a nap, but we had to stop and fill up the gas tank for our drive tomorrow. On the road back, we noticed these speed limit signs. When have you seen a sign like this lately? We hadn’t seen one like this since we were kids.
The wind was still relentless and we couldn’t find a protected spot to sit outside, so we sat inside catching up on phone calls home. We didn’t plan to eat dinner after that filling lunch, so we relaxed until the wind finally calmed off later in the day. Bob, Auggie, and I took a walk to the top of the hill to view the sunset. We saw a great one! It was so beautiful!
On the way back to the trailer, Auggie had to check out the teepee.
We watched some TV before calling it a night. We’re on the road again tomorrow.