Back Ground

Several years ago I decided to make a career change. I had been roofing in Phoenix AZ for many years and did not feel like I was fulfilling my destiny. I decided to go back to school and become a nurse. And so with my wife Kendra by my side I embarked on a remarkable journey , a journey of changes foreseen and unforeseen. When I began my schooling, nurses in Phoenix were in very high demand, hospital census was high, and sign on bonuses were the norm. Not so when I graduated. So after three months of fruitless searching in AZ, Kendra and I began to research compact states, and decided to apply at Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City South Dakota, where I was eventually hired. The result of this hire was the unforeseen change, we had talked of moving to another area after graduation but did not imagine SD would be where we would end up. However, we fell in love with the area on first arrival. The Black hills essentially began right in town, Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish, the Badlands, Hot Springs, Sturgis, and Mount Rushmore are all just a few miles away. Also, we are fortunate to have a congregation of 70 in Gillette Wyoming, which is only 150 miles west of us.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Custer State Park. This park is about 30 miles from our house. Close enough for an easy day trip to hike and picnic, or just drive around looking for wildlife.

I had the window down not realizing these burro's were inclined to come into the vehicle, scared the daylights out of me. Here I am trying to feed it a pretzel, bad idea as he took my only pen and ate it.
I closed the window on this one, doesn't it look like Cujo?

These big old bulls wander alone, they stand up to 6 feet high and weigh 2,000lbs. The park can overwinter approximately 1000 buffalo in it's wild herd, so each year they sell 300-400 head to ranchers, meat packers, or individuals who want lean meat for the freezer. There is a big round-up each Sept. which draws from 10,000-15,000 spectators.
Bighorn sheep.

Very beautiful country. The Black Hills are similar to the Mogollon Rim in northern Arizona, with many small lakes for fishing and excellent camping.

One of the back country roads we traveled looking for animals.


  1. so exciting to see all those animals so close up! neat pictures! gram

  2. It has been many years ago that we drove through Custer State Park and then Yellowstone. I have to say I saw more wildlife at Custer than Yellowstone! There are some really neat looking camping places there as well.
    Love the burro pictures!