National Geographic : 1956 Oct
497 Black . . Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lin survived in the whole of North America. They have staged a comeback. Some 1,200, one of the largest herds in the country, browse in Custer State Park, reproducing rapidly under expert care. "We've learned that with a ratio of one bull to ten cows, heifers often calve at two years instead of three," Les told me. "Now, to hold the herd to what the land will feed, we butcher surplus animals and sell $75,000 worth of meat a year." Black Hills Treat: Buffalo Chow Mein Buffalo tastes much like beef, but the fat is a rich yellow. Buffalo steaks and buffalo burgers are common items on menus of Black Hills restaurants. One drive-in features buf falo chow mein. Hollywood has discovered the buffalo here. The controversial calf-birth scene in Walt Disney's "The Vanishing Prai rie" was shot in Wind Cave National Park. In adjoining Custer State Park a thousand bison starred with Robert Tay lor and Stewart Granger re cently in MGM's "The Last Hunt." Mother Nature was stingy with only one thing needed to make the Hills an ideal play ground: lakes. But man has made many. Biggest in the Hills has just been completed on upper Rapid Creek to sup ply water for Rapid City and the near-by air base. To me, the prettiest lake is Sylvan, a turquoise set amid granite boulders. Above it stands a modern hotel with celebrated Indian murals by Erika Lohmann. The four-mile trail to Har ney Peak starts from Sylvan. A few years ago the wrangler here told me about a lady of comfortable proportions who came for a horse. He asked whether she preferred an Eng lish saddle, sometimes called a chafing dish out here, or the Western type, with a horn. "English," she replied. "I'll not go on the highway, so I Hills Studios, Inc. won't need a horn." coln Now most people ride up Harney in a bright-yellow jeep. Lyle McCarty, who sits behind the wheel, adds to the fun. "See that hanging rock?" he bellows as visitors whiz uphill. "Don't talk. The echo might make it fall!" Mountain goats, both human and animal, love this rugged country. The former enjoy pounding pitons into crevices and crawling over pinnacles. At the ranger's lookout atop Harney we saw the real thing, the kind that grows horns. Harney, the giant of the Hills, immortalizes Gen. W. S. Harney, a gruff Indian fighter who probably never glimpsed it. An ambi tious young lieutenant, Gouverneur K. War ren, later to win fame as the Union officer who took and held pivotal Little Round Top at Gettysburg, saw it from the prairies in 1857 and named it for his superior. To me, the view from Harney is peerless.