JUNE 25TH 1876
133 years before the Battle of Little Big Horn the French explorer, La Verendrye, brought the first old world Spanish horses into the Dakotas from somewhere down in Nebraska. The horses, left to run wild by the Conquistador Spanish two hundred years before, were slowly making their way North, either through trade or on their own, and quickly become instrumental to the newly evolved lifestyle of the Plains Indians. By the time Custer and the 7th Cavalry rode into the Little Big Horn Valley the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho had known no other life than with their adopted ponies.
135 years later I rode onto the site of Custer’s Last Stand on a Nebulous Black GL1800 Honda Gold Wing. Is this progress?
Sturgis SD to Billings Montana 530 kms – 7 hours
We started off in Rapid City and drove through Sturgis on our way to Billings Montana. Our final destination will be the Glacier National Park, but we had a couple of stops planned along the way.
The first attraction will be the Center of the Nation in Belle Fourche South Dakota. We stopped here last year on the Mayor’s ride but I wanted a chance to sit and reflect on the whole 19th century migration thing that passed through here. Basically at this point the settlers were only half way to Oregon.
It helps to put the ride in perspective in that what seems like a long two weeks on the road is relatively nothing compared to two to four years on the wagon train.
We also got to check out the log cabin of Buckskin Johnny who lived here with his wife and 7 children. The cabin was built in 1876 – the year of the Battle of Little Big Horn.
The rest of the ride toward Billings was uneventful. That usually means “boring” but because of the number of other riders also leaving Sturgis who rode along with us and who we rode along with the time went by quickly.
Highway 212 is seen in the distance cutting through the Crow Indian Reservation.
The Cheyenne Warrior Memorial Markers are in red granite erected after 1999 at known casualty sites. Most of the original sites are unknown because the families removed the dead immediately after the battle.
The Memorial Markers for the U.S. Soldiers are in white marble erected in 1890 to show where each man had fallen.
The roadway was built especially to take you into the middle of the battle field.
Hauntingly beautiful and strangely informative the headstones tell the tale of the battle.
Last Stand Hill where Custer and 41 men shot their horses to gain just a few more minutes.
They shoot horses don’t they?
In a different era “that could have been me.”
In 1881 “about” 220 soldiers remains were buried under this memorial. Custer was later moved to West Point.
The 7th Cavalry Horse Memorial.
Nebulous Black Horse
Battle of Little Big Horn Images on Travelographer
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