Day 21: Another Day, Another Battlefield

September 23, 2002
Little Big Horn
No Miles  No Map

Part of my vacation day was spent on the bluffs a few miles to the south of Custer’s famous Last Stand, where the general’s surviving troops re-treated and regrouped in order to hold off the final Indian onslaught. This last part of the Battle of Little Big Horn could have easily gone the other way, with the soldiers getting overrun and suffering the same fate as their commander. It was only the departure of the Indians the next morning which spared them.

The Reno-Benteen Battlefield, as it is now known, doesn’t really have anything much to see. But it was nevertheless a relaxing, light bike ride and I had pleasant picnic, taking advantage of the lovely weather. 

Afterwards, I cycled back to the visitor’s center for another stroll through the museum. With so much to take in yesterday, I’d hurried through this and wanted to give it a second look. The National Cemetery also received another gander. This time around I went through noting the dates and war services etched onto the tombstones.

It was the kind of day where a fellow just had to be outdoors.

Dinner was courtesy of The Colonel. In keeping with the local theme, this KFC has pictures of the main Indian chiefs who fought Custer. To my surprise, one of those turned out to be the only known photo of Crazy Horse (though never authenticated). I had seen this for the first time this past summer in the Seattle library. The man in it stands stiffly, obviously posing. But still there is a certain dignity and self-assuredness that makes you look again. I’d like to think it’s the famous Oglala Warrior.

Since I love to read, and have an interest in this mysterious, charismatic Sioux, it would be appropriate to purchase a book about him. But the ones I’ve seen in the museum are too heavy to be lugging for the re-mainder of the trip. Like everything else, my reading material needs to be light.

Distances
    Today:     None — Rest Day
    To Date:  987 Miles / 1,588 Kilometers

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