We woke this morning to the predicted 2-5 inches. The storm has effectively put out the fire that was burning in the park and left everything with a nice dusting of white. We got out early this morning to drive the Mt. Washburn road again, but were very disappointed to discover the road closed near the top. 2-5 inches isn’t much but it is enough to shut down the road. We had to console ourselves with the views from near the top. I really wanted to get to the top of Washburn again to see how the huge swatches of burn area trees looked in the snow. It would probably open again tomorrow, but we are pushing on to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We did manage a trip around the upper loop of roads yesterday and visited the Mammoth Hot Springs area, Norris Geyser Basin and a drive over Mt. Washburn. We always look for black bear, moose, bison and elk over this area, but today we saw only bison.
We moved on to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument today. This of course is where General George Custer made his last stand against combined forces of several indian tribes. As in any location where many lost their lives, I found the monument to be a quite sad place. The way the monument is laid out, visitors arrive at the very point where Custer, surrounded by his men, fell. The spot on the hillside is dotted with stones marking the approximate spot where each lost his life. The rest of the monument is a drive along the spine of the hills with stops in various places for viewpoints of the battlefield and explanations of how the whole thing went down. More markers along the way are placed to mark where other troops and indian fighters fell.
The monument also has a national veterans cemetery near the visitors center. Veterans from the Indian Wars to present day are buried here, including Marcus Reno, Custer’s 2nd in command, who survived the battle.
Upon leaving the monument, we headed back to camp, but not before stopping briefly at the Little Bighone Casino. We didn’t enter, but I could not resist making a photograph. It is simply amazing how many casinos are now spread throughout the west. While this one seemed to have seen better days, in general, they are the biggest and newest buildings in town. Unlike in California, not all of the casinos are indian owned. It does seem to be the preferred way to generate revenue these days. In thinking about how to portray myths of the west, I’m thinking this image will have a place.