Little Bighorn Battlefield: First Class

Every good trip benefits from at least one surprise. If everything goes exactly as planned, then there is one thing you forgot to plan on: the unexpected.

Little Bighorn Battlefield definitely wasn’t on the agenda. Given limited time and long drives back and forth between Rapid City and Yellowstone National Park, the plan included one night in Billings and a quick visit to Petroglyph, rockslides permitting.

However, the Billings overnight stay, meant to break up one of our 8+ hour commutes, breathed a few leisurely hours of freedom into our schedule, and Little Bighorn — unlike Devils Tower — didn’t add any length to our drive, and it appeared at exactly the right time for a rest stop. Plus, entrance fee covered by the America the Beautiful pass? Icing on the cake.

Now here’s the surprising part: I loved it. Like a least favorite subject taught by a beloved teacher (for me it’s a tie between Science with Mr. Akers in 7th Grade and American History with Mrs. Davenport in 11th Grade), unappetizing subjects (battlefields, monuments, a cemetery) engagingly presented transformed into a palatable feast.

Or maybe I really appreciated the break from the road, a quick snack, a brisk walk in cool air scented by a freshly-mown cemetery lawn AND fragrant fields sprinkled by a passing rainstorm, plus a trip to the N.P.R.**, and Little Bighorn benefited from my refreshed state of mind.

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** National Park Restroom

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