Sandy and Dan's 2001 trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota
Our annual trip to the Black Hills in 2001 was marked by great weather and a slow relaxed pace to our activities. As we have mentioned before, we have been visiting the Black Hills for a number of years and our goal this year was to enjoy the scenery without tying ourselves to a schedule.
We traveled with Sandy's parents who's goal was to spend some quality time in front of the nickle slot machines. We all stayed in the same motel, and although the motel management staff faced some challanges when it came to their staff and their physical plant, we did enjoy making the new Comfort Inn our headquarters for the stay.
Perhaps the most memorable event was our trip to Deerfield Lake. The opening image on this page is of this very beautiful lake nestled between the hills of West Central South Dakota. We drove about 15 miles on gravel roads to get to this lake and it was worth every mile of the drive. A light late evening rain shower settled the dust enough so that the drive was not hindered by clouds of dust. The image below shows a map of the lake with a note to indicate where we took a short walk and a picnic.
We found this map posted on a sign at the end of a 2 mile long single lane gravel road. We did have some concern about meeting another vehicle on this road since there wasn't anywhere to pull off, but luckily we were the only visitors to this site. The next image looks back of this road.
The sign promised an short walk to the lake and we found the very narrow trail fairly easy to walk, knowing that the gentle slop down to the lake would not seem so gentle when we returned. The slope that we walked included grass and wild flowers which you can see in the images below.
Following this short walk we drove around the lake and found a very quiet picnic spot. This very secluded spot featured a picnic table, a post mounted grill and a water pump on a cement base. The pump did not work, I had to snoop even though we didn't need water. It is obviously a relic of days gone by.
This final image is a view through the trees from our picnic spot.
We have noticed tour busses parked in downtown Deadwood and decided to try one this year. It promised lots of interesting stories about the history of Deadwood and a ride to the top of Mount Moriah, the location of the cemetery where Wild Bill Hickock is buried.
We felt a little foolish about 3/4 of the way through the tour when we were still seated on the bus on main street. You see Deadwood located between two mountains at the bottom of a gultch and there are very few places for the bus to take visitors other than the bottom of the gultch and the top of the mountain.
We won't try to tell you all the stories related by the bus driver, but we did enjoy hearing more about the local history and folk lore. The images below are of the cemetery that is located at the top of Mount Moriah.
While at the top of Mount Moriah we had the opportunity to look down on Deadwood and take a few photos of the scenery below. The image below includes a somewhat strange looking mountain in the center (lighter green behind others). This mountain was a major gold mine in the past and a recent law forced Homestake Mining to restore the land to it's original condition. So as you can see the terraced mountain top is covered with grass, perhaps when the trees take over it will take on the appearance of the surround hills.
In the image above the very large building is the Franklin Hotel, one of the major landmarks in Deadwood.
We have noticed over the past three years that one of the local attractions has been closed, which is The Parade of Presidents of Keystone, SD. We visited this wax museum in a visit years ago with our sons, and when we found it had reopened we decided to visit again. We found the same wax figures that we had seen earlier along with the newer presidents.
Pictured below is President Taft posed with his bride.
Another of the older wax figures is that of John F. Kennedy, pictured below. Not seen in this image is the wax sculpture of his son John playing in the knee hole of the desk.
We were a bit disappointed in the newer sculptures, we thought that the likeness was not near as good as those of the older presidents. Since this page is about travel and fun we won't get into politics, so we offer both candidates in the 2000 election as they are portrayed in a debate.
We also took another short side trip to Sundance, Wyoming. I'm sure the next thought is, "what in the world is in Sundance, Wyoming?" And the answer is, nothing! We stayed overnight in Sundance about 15 years ago and were curious if the town had grown any since our last visit. It had grown but since it had been so long since we were there nothing looked familiar. We then drove to Keyhole State Park, which turned out to be the site of a man made lake.
Sandy had planned this in advance so we had a picnic lunch beside the lake. It was a strange lake, it looked like it wasn't very deep since the surrounding hills weren't very high. There were very few trees around the lake but we did notices some boats and jet skies making use of the water. The final image is our view from the picnic table.
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