Friday, October 07, 2005

Spearfish, SD - Canyon and Deadwood

Diane actually drove the distance from Badlands to Spearfish, SD. Andy wouldn’t let me til now since the antibiotics and pain meds made me so sleepy he thought I would just nod off driving our 49’ of fun. But I’m now officially clear of drugs. Yippee!

Spearfish is back in the Black Hills, but in the north section, and almost on the border of WY. We came here because it is written up as “naturally inviting”. On our first full day here we drove the Spearfish Canyon. This is another wonderful, scenic drive. And with all of the yellows and golds it is a beautiful time of the year to do it. There aren’t too many hiking trails to be found (or at least that we could find) coming from the canyon. We did stop to see Bridal Veil and Roughlock Falls and an area where Dances With Wolves was filmed.

We circled around to the town of Deadwood. This town has been revived by gambling. Driving down Main St you can almost repeat yourself: Black Hills Gold jewelry store, gambling room, hotel. Just say that over and over and you now know all the stores in town, and almost in order. I’m exaggerating, of course. There is a ton of history here and I’m glad we picked up a brochure on a Walking Tour of the town because we would’ve missed a lot without it. The neat thing is that most of the buildings have been preserved or are under restoration. The poor town has been flooded three times and burned down twice. Most of the buildings now standing are from 1895-ish. This is the town where Wild Bill Hickock was assassinated during a card game. Yeah, gambling was rampant back then, too. And brothels, which several buildings still have girls in windows (well, mannequins).

At St. Moriah Cemetary you can visit Wild Bill, Calamity Jane, and many other well-known folk from Deadwood’s history.

But there was also a great view of Deadwood from the overlook at the cemetary.

Driving south again to go back through Spearfish Canyon, we stopped quickly in the town of Lead (“leed”). As you might expect, most of these towns were born from mining. Lead had a gold mine that was operational until just three years ago when it closed. The “Open Cut” was a huge open pit mining operation – 1800’ wide x 4500’ long x 960’ deep. The rock was beautiful. I wonder what they’ll do with this pit now the mine is closed.

Back in Savoy in Spearfish Canyon, we stopped to do a short hike on the ’76 Trail. Only ¾ mile, but 1,000’ elevation change made for a steep hike. It’s the only trail that will take you to the rim of the canyon. The groves of aspens on the trail were almost as impressive as the view from the rim. Now the sun is starting to set. The colors in the canyon really started to pop now.

Glad we got to enjoy such a beautiful day outside, since today (Tuesday) {editor's note:) since we didn't have access to internet, I'd write the blogs with the hope of uploading them when access was avail, so my dates might seem odd} we are getting freezing rains during the day and snow at night. Isn’t this wonderful – we’re gonna be stuck in another “first snowfall of the year”. Last year it was the first snowfall in the Sierras that caught up with us in Texas. This year, the first snowfall is hitting us in South Dakota. That’s ok, the town of Spearfish looks nice and we’ll take full advantage of their restaurants, arcades, library, and shops. Oh, our heat pump couldn’t keep up with the temperature (hasn’t gone above 40 degrees yet today), so Andy went out and bought a portable heater to keep my nose from falling off AND the RV park has just shut off the water in the campground to keep the lines from freezing. Wish us luck!


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