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Custer State Park and My First (But Definitely Not Last) Volksmarch

Saturday, June 07, 2014

As avid a walker as I am, you'd think I'd know about a national -- no, INTERNATIONAL -- walking organization!

But you'd be wrong!

Today was such a serendipitous day, I can't believe it.

We are at Custer State Park in South Dakota. It is an incredible park with 1500 wild buffalo who have the entire run of the park. Seriously.

This is TC on a hike we took -- fresh "buffalo pies" every where!

We were scared we'd turn a corner and wind up face to face with one of the 2,000 pound suckers. Gives new meaning to the phrase "be aware of your surroundings!"

OK, but enough about that.

Today is National Hiking Day and in honor of that there were 4 ranger-led hikes planned. We showed up for the 8:30 am hike only to find we were the only ones there -- it was so foggy that you wouldn't be able to see the views anyway. So the ranger told us about the VOLKSMARCH being held at the Crazy Horse Monument.

Since it's only 10 miles away it was definitely on our list of things to do, so we decided to do it. We didn't know anything about it, but we struck up conversations with several people who told us all about the organization.

Anyway, we registered for the walk ($3) and for a medal ($10, cuz I'm all about the bling!), and off we went. It was a 6.2 mile walk up to the monument, and we even got to walk out on the part that will eventually be the arm of Crazy Horse. That alone is amazing because to walk out on the arm is an extra $105 if you do it on your own.

They only do the Crazy Horse Volksmarch twice a year, and how amazing that the fog rolling in this morning would lead to such a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience for us?

Our first view of the monument:

It's deceiving -- the face is 87 feet tall! It will be the largest mountain carving in the world when it's done. For comparison, all 4 heads on Mt. Rushmore together are smaller than Crazy Horse's head.

What it will look like when it is done, probably in a hundred years or more:

Terrence enjoying the view, ha!

The bling!

Not only do they have walking "events", like today, they also have do-it-yourself walks all over the country. They are always right around 10K, but most also have 5K courses. In fact, there's a Volksmarch located right here in Custer State Park, that we'll have to do now that we know about it. We each bought our new member kit for $6.50 and in it you have two booklets -- one gets stamped for each Volksmarch you do and one tracks mileage. There are lots of clubs all over the country, so if you love to walk -- this may be for you!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MARYINFL2000
    You've sparked my curiosity! I've never heard of a volksmarch before. I am going to have to do some research!
    2358 days ago
    Volksmarsch, I grew up doing those. I remember you could either choose 12 km or 20 km marches and they were always lots of fun. Collected tons of medals at the time. (Wonder if my mom still has those.)
    Sounds like you guys are having a wonderful time.
    Happy travels, happy trails.
    2366 days ago
  • BUTTERFLY-1976
    Wow!!! The picture with the 2 of you in front really puts the size into perspective.
    Great pictures!!
    2367 days ago
    I like the picture of the two of you in front of it. Putting it into perspective for sure!
    2369 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8158758
    Wow- how impressive is the Crazy Horse monument! That will be on our planned travels in the future!! How awesome to get to do the volksmarch and find out about the walking clubs! I will check that out for sure! Love that metal...so artistic! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2370 days ago
    thanks for sharing!
    2370 days ago
  • MALAMI518
    That is so cool! And I love the bling! Thank you for sharing.

    We drove out West a few years ago, and saw Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, and Mount Rushmore (along with many other things). Custer State Park is one of the things that I wish we had more time for. I hope to get back out that way again
    2370 days ago
    Oh how cool. What a great joy out of what started out as a disappointment.
    Love the bling.
    2370 days ago
    Wow! My dad took me and my sister to the Crazy Horse monument a number of years ago. It sure has come a long way since then. May have to plan to go visit it again some time.
    2371 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your travels! You continue to inspire me.
    2371 days ago
  • NANCY-
    As it is said when one door closes another opens. How fortuitous and exciting that was for you!

    Those buffalo patties seem mighty deep, glad you were being aware of your surroundings. :)

    2371 days ago
    WOW!!!! What a wonderful experience. Thanks so much for sharing the photos and the story of your hike. I have never heard of Volksmarch before and I will have to check it out. I also didn't know what a fitbit was until I read about it in your blog and now I;ve had one for almost a year and I don't know what I would do without it!
    2371 days ago
    I loved your pictures. What a fun walk. It is good to know about walks to take. You are doing a great job of staying healthy!
    2371 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14291083
    I loved the pictures, too. I've never seen real life buffaloes.
    2371 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    Sounds like you had a great adventure!! So awesome! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2371 days ago
    Love the pics and the Volksmarch concept -- and they pick you up in a Volkswagon van if it gets to be too arduous, right???
    2371 days ago
    Wow! What a great day. Thanks for the info. I had heard of them but now that I'm in better shape, I'm interested in walking groups. emoticon emoticon
    2371 days ago
    Never heard of Ny of that, either!
    Looks like a very cool hike-
    serendipity, indeed!

    2371 days ago
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