That's interesting Clair, from what I have read on this board some people have somewhat stated that visiting some parts of the battlefield outside the park is ill advised. Do you need special permission from the crows for example to walk valley fight locations, Weir Point, Ford B ect. I have also seen photo's of Hodgeson's bullet riddled marker that is so sad, do things like that happen often their?
The Cheyenne that was my guide on trip out there was very partisan, and pretty intense...certainly not laid back! His attitude was that they won the battle, but then lost everything...it wasn't fair! Damn Crows gloat to this day, in his opinion, and needed to be put in their place.
I guess the folks I meet on the battlefield trails are being polite--I have never encountered any animosity in that situation.
I met a couple who turned out to be Pottawatomies from Kansas, who didn't realize that the red markers were for the Indians. They went away much happier.
Gerry took benteeneast, zekesgirl, princesstori and me on a tour of Reno's skirmish line, or part of it. The land is owned by the Custer Battlefield Preservation Committee, and anyone who is a member has the legal right to walk on it. You can get memberships, from yearly to lifetime, at the Garryowen Museum.
Gerry chatted with Chris Kortlander, and he offered to escort us out and show us the boundaries. He warned us not to go beyond a certain point, since the neighbors were hostile, armed, and dangerous. We stayed in the field specified and nobody bothered us. I had heard this before, and said I wouldn't go without a group big enough to form our own skirmish line.
Melani, who owns the property next to Courtlander that you didn't cross over to, was that the Crows?
Nate, the hostile landowner is a Crow who lives in the vicinity of the Reno Retreat Ford. If you visit him and ask permission, along with an offer to pay him money he will probably let you walk around that area. The primary motive is to make a buck as opposed to just being anti-social. Melani gives the best advice when she says to stop in at the Custer Battlefield Museum at the Garryowen loop and purchase a membership to the Custer Battlefield Land Preservation. The director of the museum, Chris Kortlander, can give you a good rundown on where you can go in the Reno valley fight. The Land Preservation committee owns about 90% of the land surrounding the battlefield, so that's an important resource to have. You will get a membership card which will come in handy should you be harassed by any Park Rangers who might come along. You can pull your car over in the nearest curbside pullover, near the roadside exhibits and walk to many parts of the battlefield, like the Weir Peaks, Medicine Tail Coulee, Boyer's Bluff, etc. The Real Bird family owns the land adjacent to the Medicine Tail fords, and they will be happy to rent you a horse to ride all over the battlefield outside the NPS area. You can visit the Cemetery flats by walking down the access road past the Stone House on Cemetery Ridge and head off down towards the living quarters of the park rangers. That area is very close to Ford D, and the Cemetery flats are just south of the gravel pit down near the river. You won't get permission to go down into Deep Ravine, but if you're willing to hire one of the local Crows, its amazing where they can get you once the sun goes down. Of course, I would never think of doing such a thing myself, but its been known to happen. Same thing goes for the Crows Nest. You just need to grease the right palms....and the Real Birds and a few others can be very helpful. Of course, you also have the option of enlisting in the reenactment where you will get a free pass to explore the area at will while camping on the west side of Medicine Tail Ford, in the shadow of Boyer's Bluff.
"The more I see of movement here (Little Big Horn Battlefield), the more I have admiration for Custer, and I am satisfied his like will not be found very soon again.”
~ Gen. Nelson Miles, Commanding General of the Army ------
"With our cherished ones deliverance within our grasp we waited breathless for the order that never came."
I gotta say, Shawn Real Bird was very kind to Hank and Steve and me when we did a ride with him. Their rates are a bit more than what my friend Debbie and I paid for just a regular trail ride to nowhere special in Wyoming, but I don't think they're out of line when you consider the resource.
If you have no experience at all, you can fork over a couple thousand for the School of the Cavalry, where they give you a week of intensive training and then put you in the reenactment. I found that downright amazing--some of those guys had never been on a horse before, and they looked pretty good. I was strangely reassured to hear that they do have a few people wash out every year.
I got the idea that experienced horsemen and re-enactors can sign on without the exorbitant fee by contacting the guy in charge.
Thanks for the great info Keogh, much apprecitated. When I am eventually able to get to the battlefield I want to know before hand which area's are open and which you need special permission for. Can you buy a membership online or just at the store?. It would be a blast to hire a guide to take you into deep ravine. Not that I ever would .
Melani, about how much does a Real Bird tour ride run? I have never been on a horse sad to say though I have ridden a camel before at the zoo. It would be something I would have an interest in doing.
Just out of cureiostiy who owns the site of the seventh's bivouac on the Rosebud and is it accesible to the public.
Real Birds were charging $50 an hour last time we did it. To put that in perspective, I pay $45 for a riding lesson in California, and we paid $35 for an hour's ride in Pinedale, WY. They have gentle horses for inexperienced riders.
Nobody can go into Deep Ravine; that's NPS land. Even the rangers don't go there, except for special occasions.
I met Shawn, I believe, (an older looking guy with glasses), as I walked up 3411 and they were riding down. We exchanged greetings and he seemed to be a pleasant and friendly guy.
I did have a run in with the guy who is part of the family who owns the trailers and land where the retreat ford is. I drove down the blacktop public road and parked by the driveway by the Pitch homestead owned by the preservation trust. A Crow with a mean attitude stopped and said I couldn't park there because it was a private road. I advised him that the private road sign was on further to the east where the blacktop ended and this was a public road. He was insistent about it and I thought about getting the cops/reservation police involved but didn't want to take the time. I also figured if I left a new car parked there then it would probably be damaged when I came back. So I moved back to Fort Custer where some others were who were going to walk it till they changed their minds. That was a better place to walk from anyway.
Fred had arranged to walk the area all the way to ford A at a cost of $50 a person but I don't know who he talked to and I was nursing a blister on my foot that morning and didn't link up with them.