MICKELSON TRAIL SOUTH DAKOTA

THIS WAS A STATE THAT IS CONSISTENTLY  HIGHLIGHTED BY ALL THE 50 STATERS  AS A REMARKABLE AND BEAUTIFUL EVENT. IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. BEFORE I LEFT   BROTHER IN LAW IN JOE M SENT THIS BEAUTIFUL NOTE BEFORE THE TRIP:

  During my years after high school I worked in a bentonite mine in Belle Fourche SD.  We would go to Deadwood after pay day.  During that time there were wild west shows where they re enacted the gunfights.  I made friends with several ranch families who fed me wonderful dinners of home made breads, jams, venison, pies.  I loved those folks and I love South Dakota.  There is a special place in my heart from my days there.  I carry secret gems of events,people and places all through the amber hue of my youth.  During those days I would hitchhike through the western states and sleep at night where ever the last car dropped me off.  Sometimes above timberline in the Rocky Mountains, other times in the high plains of Wyoming and Montana.  The subtle beauty of the Black Hills might have been my most endearing experience.  These hills will make you realize why the Sioux Indians fought for their very existence to stop the manifest destiny through that area.  I made friends with a fellow whose father owned a ranch in the Black Hills.  This comprised thousands of acres on the Wyoming border on the western face of the Black Hills.  We would spend days meandering through the hills.  We would hunt deer and antelope and sleep at night in a cave which had a natural smokestack.  In the evenings we would sit on the ledge outside the cave and watch the elk drift out of the coulees onto the grassland.  One evening we were caught in a snowstorm that came in from Canada with ferocious winds.  We were unable to make it to our cave.  We had parkas with us and found shelter and slept under our parkas.  We woke the next morning covered with two feet of snow.  In the clearing nearby stood two magnificent bucks.  We did not have the gumption to shoot and somehow felt a kinship with them.  I fished a few trout streams that were truly heavenly.  I could fish all day and never see another soul but more likely would see a bison or a coyote, a mink, an otter, a hawk or kingfisher.   The people were quiet and hard working but kind and generous to the point of seeming naive.  I hope that if there is a heaven for me that Spearfish, and Belle Fourche and Custer National Park figure in to the equation.  Good luck and love, Joe.

I SHOULD POST THE PHOTOS AND NOT EVEN TRY TO TOP THOSE BEAUTIFUL WORDS. JOE QUIT YOUR JOB AND  PLEASE WRITE FULL TIME.

HERE IS THE TRAIL LET’S PRETEND THE ONE IN YELLOW IS ME EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT.

THE RACE WENT 13 MILES SLOWLY UPHILL AND THEN BACK DOWN AT 5500-6500 ELEVATION. TWO WORDS ABOUT THE BLACK HILLS- YOU MUST.

 MY FIRST STOP WAS DEVIL’S TOWER WY RIGHT DOWN THE ROAD.
HOW IN THE WORLD DID THIS HUGE LANDMARK COME ABOUT ?

SURROUNDED BY BIG ROLLING PLAINS THERE IT IS . IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL AFTERNOON TO EXPLORE- REALLY CLEAN BLUE SKIES,  GREAT PUFFY WHITE CLOUDS.  HUGE ENDLESS LANDSCAPES.  THIS IS THE PLACE FROM THE E.T MOVIE. THE TRAIL AT THE BOTTOM IS 1.3 MILES AROUND AND SINCE SCHOOL WAS NOT QUITE OUT THERE WAS 3 OF US TOTAL IN THIS NATIONAL PARK. WHAT A TREAT. IT WAS SO QUIET YOU COULD HEAR THE WIND AND KNOW HOW SPECIAL THIS PLACE IS TO THE OGALA SIOUX.
THE LEGEND IS THAT 3 KIDS WERE PLAYING AND THE BROTHER TURNED INTO A FEROCIOUS BEAR AND THIS MOUNTAIN  ROSE UP TO TAKE THE SISTERS TO SAFETY IN  THE SKY  AND THEY TURNED INTO STARS. SO THERE- GIRL POWER.

ALSO I SAW MY FIRST PARKING POST COLONY – I MEAN PRAIRIE DOG COLONY. I WANTED TO TAKE ONE HOME AS A LAP DOG  THEY WERE ADORABLE.

SINCE WYOMING HAS NO PEOPLE THERE IS NO INCOME TO BE MADE FROM SPEEDERS   I MADE A VERY  QUICK TRIP BACK TO DEADWOOD ENJOYING ROAD NAMES LIKE GRIZZLY, GULCH, PONDEROSA AND  THE ABOVE.
I EVEN SAW  WOODEN COVERED WAGONS. THOSE FOLKS DID NOT HAVE SHOCK ABSORBERS AND HAD TO TRAVEL REALLY LIGHT- THE WAGONS  ARE  QUITE SMALL. NOT EVEN ENOUGH ROOM FOR A FLAT SCREEN OR AIR CONDITIONER.
FOR YOU GEOGRAPHY BUFFS BELLE FOURCHE SD NEAR DEADWOOD IS THE GEOGRAPHICAL CENTER OF THE U.S.

THE NEXT DAY I VISITED CUSTER STATE PARK A VERY AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL PLACE.

 THE ABOVE IS CALLED THE NEEDLE. IT IS VERY HUGE, HOW ABOUT THAT SKY ?

 SYLVAN LAKE

SOME GIRL FROM ILLINOIS WITH COMPRESSION SOX.
AND HERE IS A HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY:

THAT IS A HERD HAVING LUNCH. THEY ARE HUGE.

AND AROUND THE BEND IN THE ROAD CAME MT RUSHMORE:

THIS WAS A POWER SIGHT SEE DAY SO I POWERED ON TO A HISTORY MUSEUM  AND LEARNED ALL ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE FOLKS IN DEADWOOD- WILD BILL HICKCOCK, BUFFALO BILL, CALAMITY JANE AND GUNSLINGING.

 THE ABOVE  STORY DOESN’T GET TOO MUCH ATTENTION OUT THERE-HMMMMMMM

 THEN IT WAS ON TO SALOON 10 WHERE WILD BILL WAS SHOT IN THE BACK PLAYING CARDS.

WILD BILL WAS A GOOD GUY AND HERE ARE THE CARDS HE HAD WHEN HE WAS SHOT. DARN I THINK HE COULD HAVE WON THAT ROUND. I HAD A SUMMERFIELD WHEAT BEER AT THE BAR  THAT WAS DELISH. I DID NOT GET SHOT IN THE BACK.
I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE ONE COMPLAINT- THE SLOT MACHINES IN THIS TOURIST ATTRACTION VERY QUICKLY KEPT $30. SORRY NO NEW MANSION FOR SWEET ELLA AND MY BELOVED DEBBIE.

BELOVED DEBBIE

SWEET ELLA

WELL SINCE THERE WAS A RACE THE NEXT DAY   I ACTED LIKE A MARATHONER FOR A FEW MINUTES AND PINNED ON MY NUMBER, PUT OUT ENOUGH GELS, SPORT  BEANS, CUBES ETC TO GET LOST FOR A WEEK ON THE TRAIL AND HAD A BIG DINNER. THIS IS A TOUGH ENDEAVOR YOU KNOW, SIGHT SEE,  REST,  EAT,  SLEEP, REPEAT.

THE RACE GAVE US A  NICE BUS RIDE RIGHT FROM THE HOTEL  DOOR TO THE START WHICH WAS 26 MILES AWAY IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF A ROAD TO NOWHERE . I REALLY MEAN IT, THERE ARE NOT MANY PEOPLE OUT HERE.  THEY SAID SPECTATORS DO NOT COME TO THE START THERE IS NOWHERE TO PARK UP HERE IN THE WILDERNESS. AT THE START WAS A MOUNTAIN MAN  WALKING AROUND WITH A HEFTY BAG FOR TRASH, THEE ARE NO GARBAGE CANS IN NOWHERE.

I WRANGLED UP THE MANIACS AND THE FIELD OF  400  HEADED DOWN THE TRAIL.

MY CROOKED HAT IS A SECRET RUNNING  GANG REPRESNTATION

 THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT MR.  50 STATER!! CROSS THEM OFF

CAN YOU SAY AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

AROUND THIS BEAUTIFUL 8 MILE MARK IT LOOKED LIKE THIS:

AND I SAID TO A VERY NICE LADY FROM CALIFORNIA- KERI – WHO HAD BEEN DOING ALL THE TALKING, ” OH LOOK A COOL BARN, IT’S MY FIRST SOUTH DAKOTA COOL BARN”. EXCEPT IT SOUNDED LIKE I WAS SUCKING ON HELIUM. THE ALTITUDE/UPHILL THING WAS GETTING INTERESTING. THEN ALONG CAME AN ABOUT TO BE HATCHED MARATHON MANIAC ROBIN L.  #5518

HER HUSBAND  JEFF, IS  A VIOLIN MAKER FROM SEATTLE. HE IS MANIAC # 247, AN ALMOST -ORIGINAL.  ( I AM #2859). HE DID ALL THE TALKING- ROBIN AND I WERE WHEEZING ALONG, TRYING TO PRETEND WE WERE NOT AFFECTED BY THE ALTITUDE.
(IF YOU ARE CLUELESS ON THE MARATHON  MANIACS JUST GOOGLE IT FOR THE 411).

AFTER THE 13 MILE MARK THE TRAIL STARTED GOING DOWN. THIS FELT GRAND. THIS IS THE POINT IN THE RACE WHERE RACERS WHO HAVE DECIDED TO WALK ARE IN SIGHT , I AM” RUNNING” FULL SPEED BEING SO COOL AND SOMEHOW PASSING THE WALKERS DOESN’T ALWAYS OCCUR. IT IS ONE OF THE  GREAT MYSTERIES OF LIFE.

THE SCENERY WAS SPECTACULAR, IT REALLY FELT LIKE COWBOYS,  A STAGECOACH, INDIANS, TRAIN ROBBERS WERE  GOING TO  COME AROUND THE BEND. OOOPS BACK A FEW MILES WAS A REALLY COOL BARN WITH CIRCLE RED METAL SHINGLES- IT WAS VERY COOL

I WAS SAD TO SEE THE FINISH LINE AS  WE HAD JUST COME THRU A GREAT CANYON WITH  GREAT VIEWS AND A NICE RIVER ALONG SIDE., THIS WESTERN ADVENTURE WAS COMING TO AN END.

THE RACE WAS SO SMALL THAT WITHIN 30 SECONDS THE RACE DIRECTOR HIMSELF PUT ME IN HIS CAR AND TOOK ME TO THE HOTEL WHERE I DID  A SINK FRESHEN UP AND SPED OFF TO THE HUGE METROPOLIS OF RAPID CITY TO GET HOME. THE AIRPORT POPULATION WAS ALL 14 FOLKS ON OUR FLIGHT . THERE WAS LITERALLY NO ONE BUT OUR PLANE PEOPLE  AND 1 TICKET PERSON WHO I THINK FLEW THE PLANE TOO.  IT FELT LIKE A SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE WHERE A VIRUS HAS KNOCKED EVERYONE OFF. APPARENTLY LIFE CAN BE SUSTAINED QUITE NICELY  WITHOUT 6 MILLION OTHER SOULS- TAKE NOTE CHICAGO.

SO THIS EVENT DOES HAVE A HALF AND IT IS WALKER FRIENDLY SO IF YOU ARE INCLINED TOWARDS SPECTACULAR -CONSIDER THIS AREA AS A DESTINATION EVENT. CAN’T WAIT TO RETURN AND SEE MORE.

WILL THERE BE ANY SIGHTS TO COMPARE TO THIS RACE ? ONLY 17 MORE STATES TO FIND OUT!!   THE RUNNING ADVENTURES WILL PAUSE FOR A BRIEF INTERLUDE WHILE NANADVENTURES GOES TO 2 WHEELS FOR AWHILE. LOOK SOON  FOR THE TOUR OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER VALLEY REPORT, AS WELL AS  THE GRABAR  BIKE RIDE REPORT WHICH WILL COVER A  WEEK LONG ROUTE ALONG THE WISCONSIN RIVER FROM EAGLE RIVER  SOUTH TO PRAIRIE DU CHIEN. BARN-A-HOLICS OF WISCONSIN  I AM COMING AND I HAVE  A CAMERA. PUT YOUR GOOD HAY BALES OUT. AND FIND THE CUTE COWS TOO.

NEXT RUNNING STOP WILL BE ALASKA IN LATE AUGUST BEFORE THE NANADVENTURES RELOCATE TO BRADENTON FLA. 

TODAY’S INSPIRATION IS:
MAKE EACH DAY YOUR MASTERPIECE.
AND YOUR CHUCKLE IS :
I KNOW I AM IN MY OWN LITTLE WORLD BUT THEY KNOW ME HERE.
HAPPY TRAILS
NW 

One thought on “MICKELSON TRAIL SOUTH DAKOTA

  1. Nancy this post is wonderful. What amazing pictures!!!! not need 6 million people, no doubt, as we did for most of the history of the world. keep these delightful posts coming!!!!

    Like

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