Leaving the Badlands, we headed for Rapid City, where we camped just outside of town at Tee Pee Campground. It was a quiet place and had some nice land for Abbey to run around, chasing rabbits and deer.
Ted’s friends, David, Gary, and Dick were convening for their annual Waybacks golf outing: 3 courses in 3 days, interspersed with good eating and drinking, in which Cindi and I (and Hank and Linda and Roger and Charlie and Linda) took part.
One day, while the guys were golfing, Abbey and I made the pilgrimage to Mount Rushmore. We stopped along the road and sneaked up on it, then drove in for the full treatment, then drove out for the profile view.
Another day Cindi and I went to Bear Country, a place where you can drive in your car and see native South Dakota wildlife in pretty natural surroundings.
After a great time, we departed for Spearfish in the Northern Black Hills. We stayed at the Spearfish City Campground, which is right on the edge of town and is in a beautiful setting. There’s a historic fish hatchery, bike trails along the creek, and lots of beautiful foliage.
We spent the first day driving Spearfish Canyon and hiking the Roughlock Falls.
We took a trip up Terry Peak to see the area where Ted used to live — and the destruction done by the ongoing gold mining operation.
We checked out Deadwood, had a beer, wandered around, and went up to Boot Hill to see where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane were buried.
That night we joined Susan and Bill at their mountain retreat. We went for a wild ATV ride, saw a herd of elk, had wine in a beautiful spot, and then returned to a fantastic dinner.
Our next foray in Spearfish Canyon was a hike along Iron Creek. We had the trail to ourselves and Abbey could run and play in the creek.
Another day we drove east a bit to Bear Butte and further north and back through Belle Fourche.
One day we stayed near the campground, biked some of the trails, and explored Indian Spring. That night we met Barb and Tim in Deadwood for dinner and some high-stakes (not) gambling.
After exploring some backroads, we headed west to Wyoming for a day.
We hiked around at Devils Tower, enjoying watching climbers, the fall colors, great vistas, and prairie dogs.
On our last full day at Spearfish we headed back to the Canyon to see Spearfish Falls and to hike Little Spearfish Canyon. Though there were lots of people in the Canyon on this perfect fall weekend, we had the trail to ourselves. We hiked along the Little Spearfish creek, which had several beaver dams, creating serene pools. The fall colors were in full glory.
In the morning we head to Custer State Park to take in the southern part of the Black Hills.