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Old 05-27-2006, 04:40 PM   #1
rokklym OP
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Finding gold in the Black Hills!

PAHA SAPA

Paha Sapa – That means “Black Hills” to the Lakota, or Teton Sioux. To the Sioux Indians, it is a sacred place, the “ Axis Mundi ”, or center of the world, and the place of the gods. Warriors would visit Paha Sapa for visions and to speak with the Great Spirit.

The Lakota weren't the only ones interested in the Black Hills. Rumors of Gold in the Black Hillslead to an expedition party of 1000 people to be sent into the hills in 1874 led by General George Armstrong Custer of the 7th US Cavalry. A few months after the groups arrival, a man names Horatio N. Ross discovered gold along French Creek in the central Black Hills. One of the last great North American gold rushes inevitably followed.

Rumors of “Gold” are what led Bryan and I to pack up and head to the hills. Stories of prime trails in the 1.2 million acre Black Hills Nat. Forest are what got our interest up, along with the fact there is 5000 miles of primitive roads that criss cross the forest and they are considered "open unless closed". What that means is that everything is open, unless its specificly gated or posted.


Here is the story of our journey.

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rokklym screwed with this post 01-05-2007 at 09:42 AM
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Old 05-27-2006, 05:51 PM   #2
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Old 05-27-2006, 06:16 PM   #3
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Starts out good, more please
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Old 05-27-2006, 07:23 PM   #4
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Nice Intro Chad!

Nice introduction Chad. Lets get this thing rolling.

So Chad calls me the other day. He says there is some good riding out in the Black Hills and wants to know if I am interested in going out there. Sure! We bounce calendars and pick out some dates. Next thing I know we have the bikes in the back of his pickup and we are on our way.
Here is Chad putting the finishing touches on our load up in Westby, WI.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:11 PM   #5
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OK, I'm back, lets get rollin'

I've been out to the Black Hills a few times for the rock climbing so I knew that there was some great scenery out there, and lots of gravel roads. This spring I almost had to go out there for a wedding so I started to look at the maps and I got interested. Those plans fell through until a thread popped up here in the central forum and got me re-interested. I haven't taken a trip with Bryan for a while and I figured that we could make something work..the plan was set.

Rapid City South Dakota is about a 10 hour drive for me, and then getting into the hills is at least another hour. On all my other trips out there we have always driven through the night since there isn't much to see on the way. Tuesday night Bryan shows up at my house and we stuff about as much shit as you can stuff into a Ranger and headed westward.
9 hours, 4 Red Bulls, 0 sleep, and god knows what else later I pull the truck off the freeway at the Badlands exit. I've actually never stopped there before and was itching for a little break in the interstate driving so we drove the loop road at sunrise.



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Old 05-27-2006, 09:31 PM   #6
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Being a cheap bastard, I decided we should check out the free campgrounds first. The Black Fox CG was top on our list due to its proximety to the good trails.


The view from our tent site
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:44 PM   #7
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Trout Streams

The entire area had some excellent looking trout habitat. In fact, we watched a trout feed right behind our campsite one evening. Here are some shots of some other streams.



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Old 05-27-2006, 09:55 PM   #8
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I'm having issues with my internet... I'll have to wait and do the updates.

Once we got camp set up we had to take a break and catch some zzz's
After a little siesta, we both felt a little better and decided to go for a ride. After unloading the bike I noticed my headlight was out. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. We took it all apart and tried everything and eventually got it working again.


after that episode, we hopped on the bikes and headed to high country.



We came across alot of old cabins up in the mountains. Some were in OK shape and some were about gone. It amazing when you think about the early settlers making their way up here and trying to make a living.


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Old 05-27-2006, 09:56 PM   #9
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Wildlife

We came across a variety of wildlife in our travels. We came across elk, deer, turkeys, coyotes, and a bunch of other stuff. Lots of tracks along the trails we rode. We also got to see bison and free ranging donkeys.
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:14 PM   #10
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One thing I forgot to mention was the high winds we found when we got out there. A high wind advisery was in affect and it was obvious the the winds had done some damage up in the hills. We encountered alot of downed trees and that made for some interesting moments..more on that later.


We came out near the old town of Rochford and decided to stop by the Moonshine Gulch Saloon for a bite to eat.


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Old 05-27-2006, 10:20 PM   #11
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Trees



We rode alot of doubletrack and gravel, with a bit of singltrack and no-track thrown in.


This was a great section of trail that wound down through a ravine and emptied out in a high meadow.

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Old 05-27-2006, 10:26 PM   #12
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High Winds

Like Chad was saying, we ran into some high winds the day we got there (gusts up to 60 mph). One blast just about flattened our tents while we were in them. Trees were down all over. Seems like large vehicles would have to carry a chain saw along just to get around. We had to pick our way around (or sometimes through) a lot of downed trees.

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Old 05-27-2006, 10:29 PM   #13
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The riding was great, but sometimes the views were better!

The name Black Hills refers to the dark appearance of the mountains when seen from afar, caused by the dense stands of Ponderosa Pine (a western species) and White Spruce (a northern species, far from its primary range here). The other common conifer is Lodgepole Pine, and deciduous species include Bur Oak (at the very western extent of its range), Quaking Aspen, Green Ash, American Elm, and Paper Birch. The deciduous trees are found mainly along rivers and streams.



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Old 05-27-2006, 10:33 PM   #14
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Nice Relaxing Trip

This was a very relaxing trip. The weather was great (usually got up into the high 80s/low 90s), the trails were nice, and the pace was relaxed. We just rode around looking at things. No racing or hot dog stuff, just a comfortable ride. Chad got us out there and set up with no worries. My only responsibilities were map and route work on the trail - something second nature after a career in the Army.
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:37 PM   #15
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Chad on the Trail










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