Morning yoga under the pine trees. Sunbathing on white sandy beaches. Mountain biking thru Aspens on empty trails. These are just a few of the scenes of our past week in The Black Hills – a place I could happily stay forever.
The Native Americans revered the Black Hills as a sacred place. I felt a similar draw to the land–a connection to the ponderosa pine forests, a sense of peace sleeping next to the river in Spearfish. Despite the magnitudes of tourists — and worse yet, the tourist traps– we managed to stay off the beaten path (mostly) and to find both solitude and like-minded souls.
After being stuck in Cheyenne, WY longer than we ever wanted to be, we finally got our truck back and immediately hit the road north. Before leaving Wyoming for good, we did have to stop at Ft Laramie so that P could complete their Junior Ranger program and get his badge. Or at least that was MY excuse to stop–I am a bit of a history nerd and loved every moment of the pit-stop.
We finally arrived in the Black Hills and were delighted to discover our beautiful campsite (Sheridan Lake) in the woods. It was getting dark as we set up camp, and by the time we were done, the stars were out in full force. P and I stood in the dark, looking up above the tall pines, delighting in the silver stars shining down on us.
We spent the next five days in heaven. One evening Blair and Parker made dinner while I ran the Shoreline trail around the lake. As dusk fell, the leaves began to shimmer in the last rays of sunshine. Around a rocky point, I found a rope swing that we went back to the next day.
P shocked us all by putting on his life jacket and climbing the rope. I couldn’t let my 4 year old outdo me, so even I tried it. The rush of air past my face and the plunge into the cool, but not cold, water was thrilling. It was a small moment, but the type of moment that will allow me to remember this trip forever.
Blair had plans to ride the Dakota 5-0 course with a friend, so we headed to Spearfish. I was sad to leave Sheridan but excited to find a campground with hot showers. The Spearfish City Campground was lovely, as was Spearfish itself. Our camp-spot was grassy and our front door opened to the bank of Spearfish Creek, where we could watch fly-fisherman cast their line in the last light of day.
We had to pause setting up camp to put on our eclipse glasses and watch the event. We weren’t in the path of totality, but close, and were shocked and slightly disturbed by how dark it got. The campground turned cold as we waited for daylight to return.
The moon and sun and dim light, the sound of water rushing past, my boys close enough to hear their breathing. Another small moment that I will remember forever, however long that may be.