Tuesday morning, we were up early. Our walk instructions told us the LBBNM gate opened at 8:00 a.m. Our Volksmarch would start at 8:30 a.m. Because we wanted to have a parking space, we were at the (locked) entry gate at 7:30 a.m. The National Park Service wanted our group to come in early, walk, then leave before the park became too crowded.
Weather: Cloudy most of the time we walked
Shade: None, except in the VisitorCenter
|Waiting for the park to open|
|Other Volksmarchers waited too|
The Little Bighorn Battlefield memorializes one of the last armed efforts of the Northern Plains Indians -- Arikara, Apsaalooke, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Lakota, and Oyate tribes -- to preserve their ancestral, independent, nomadic way of life. Three U.S. Army columns were to converge on the Indians concentrated in southeastern Montana under the leadership of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and other war chiefs.
|Custer National Cemetery in top of photo,|
the trail to Deep Ravine is in the foreground
|On the trail to Deep Ravine|
|Deep Ravine overlook|
|Coming uphill from Deep Ravine - markers|
show where U.S. 7th Cavalry fell
|Volksmarchers on the trail|
|View of the surrounding countryside|
The piece de resistance of the Indian Memorial is this Spirit Warrior Sculpture. According to information in the brochure:
"This bronze sculpture of three Native American Spirit Warriors riding off to battle was designed by Oglala artist Colleen Cutschall. The Spirit Warriors (Oyate, Cheyenne, and Arapaho) and the woman handing off the shield are silhouetted against the contant yet ever changing Great Plains sky--the proverbial home of the Spirit..."
|Spirit Warrior Sculpture|
The engraved granite panels provide space for each tribe that participated in the battle to commemorate their warriors and the battle as they see fit. The decision on how to list battle participants was made independently by each tribe. The Crow and Arikara tribes, who served as scounts for the U.S. in this particular battle, use slightly different wording in remembering their ancestors since only the Arikawa suffered casualties. The Oyate, Cheyenne, and Arapaho were allied together in opposition to the United States government. While the Cheyenne and Oyate suffered casualties and thus chose to honor those who had fallen; the Arapaho focused commemoration on those who fought, as there were no casualties.
|Scenic "rest area" to chat, tie your shoelaces,|
and empty gravel out of your shoes
|Yellow salsify or goat's beard|
|Marker for a fallen Indian warrior|
|Grasses against the sky|
|Beautiful grasses look like trees!|
|Walkers starting out as we're finishing|
Those of us who finished the walk wanted time to look at the Visitor Center and see the movie. However, we were very disgusted with the National Park Service when it came time to see the movie.
When we got to the Visitor Center theater, the 10:30 movie was letting out. The room had been packed and no one else could get in. As soon as they left, we went in and sat down with about ten other people thinking the next movie would start in a couple of minutes. Ten minutes later, still no movie.
Darren went to ask the park ranger when the next movie would be. He told us it wasn't scheduled until noon!! They wouldn't show it before then because they had a range giving a talk outside. Those of us in the theater wanted to see the movie, not hear the ranger talk. The park ranger would not show us the movie, so we left without seeing it. I don't know if we'll every be back there. There were people from as far away as Virginia and Pennsylvania who did not get to see the movie.
I wrote a comment in their visitor registration log about how disappointed I was not to be able to see the movie. A few minutes later, I saw the park ranger go over and remove the page with my disparaging comment. He kept looking at me. I have a word for him, but I'm not going to use it.
After the Visitor Center, we went into Hardin again to have lunch at Dairy Queen. From Hardin, Montana, we took a short drive to Billings where our American Volkssport Association Convention is being held. It was early but our rooms were ready and we were able to check in. We will now be in one hotel for four nights! We get to unpack everything. Yay!
|American Volkssport Association|
banner at the hotel
Tomorrow, we start our day off with a Volksmarch, then have lunch, followed by a General Session in the afternoon.
Note: You haven't heard from me in a few days because I've been too busy to write, or else have been off of wi-fi/internet in Yellowstone National Park. There's lots more to tell you, so keep on checking back. Good night.