Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bye South Dakota, hello Wyoming!

Tuesday, 10/5, we left Custer State Park, heading for Spearfish Canyon.
Yesterday evening, we stopped at an overlook - especially with the binoculars, we could see for miles and miles.  The first part was some ridges of mountains, green with evergreen trees.  The last ridge we could see was totally black - from that distance, we could see why the plains indians called this area the Black Hills.  The young pines' trunks are black.  Beyond that ridge of distant black hills was plains as far as you can see - amazing how the topography can change so drastically in so short a distance!
As we drive along today, we see craggy hills covered to the top with pines.  Occasionally, there is a stand of poplars, with their welcome bright yellow to accent the vista.  No wild animals yet today, although there was one sign that tickled us:  "Slow turtle crossing".  I've never seen a fast turtle...!
Huge (not by Michigan standards, but big nonetheless) Lake Pachola, formed by a large dam, is lovely.  Out in the lake stands an island that was, before they made the lake, a pretty sizeable craggy peak.  On top of the peak someone planted an American flag that proudly waves.  I LOVE these South Dakota rock climbers!
Spearfish Canyon was really beautiful - lovely Spearfish Creek ran beside the road. In winter, the bottom of the creek freezes first!  And, it flows from spouth to north.  We stopped in the town of Spearfish, at Spearfish Canyon Country Club - I played golf in one of the most beautiful places in this part of the country.  What fun!
We drove through Deadwood - a bit hokey, and all touristy.  They did have a lovely county courthouse - picture taken!  The town of Lead (pronounced leed, we hear) was a charming mountain town.  The area around here is very mountainous - reminds me of Colorado with smaller mountains.  These don't go above the tree line.  I was glad Dan was driving - one large truck's brakes were smoking like crazy as we went down the mountain into Deadwood.
We're driving through part of Wyoming - such different terrain, AGAIN!  Huge sky, gentle rolling hills, ranch country, with mountains in the distance.  We'll camp tonight in Gillette, at a place called....are you ready?  Crazy Woman Campground!!  What a hoot!
We're actually driving on Interstate through Wyoming - otherwise, the route we had planned wouldn't go to Wyoming at all!  Along this Interstate, they have some huge snow fencing.  In Michigan we use 1 inch vertical boards, wired together.  Here's they're at least 10 feet high, reinforced wood with steel!  And, we saw that this road is closed during the winter - can you imagine, an interstate highway closed?  The sign said "If flashing, exit at Sundance".  Sundance wouldn't be such a hardship if Robert Redford were home!  We decided not to stop at his house - after all, we didn't call to let him know we're coming...
These hills are truly beautiful - the shadows make for interesting patterns.  There are plenty of evergreens growing on the hills, but the hills are lower than we saw in South Dakota.  And the view goes on for miles.
Spearfish Creek - lovely

County courthouse in Deadwood, SD

In Spearfish Canyon

from 8th Tee - must go between trees, over grass...

way down in parking lot, can just see Dan's truck where he's working away while I play

9th Tee - way high - even I can hit a decent drive from up here.  Green is behind the sand trap

pretty long hole for me

my shadow as I take picture of 9th fairway
Tomorrow, Montana!

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