Monday, August 18, 2014

Spearfish, South Dakota

The Black Hills rise as welcome relief after the seemingly endless, rolling prairie.  Spearfish is one of the northern gateway towns with a smattering of tourist attractions.  And really, it was nice not to have bison wandering everywhere!

Deadwood, SD -- longtime haunt for prospectors and gamblers.
Try your luck at one of 80+ gaming halls.  Great old buildings but creepy folks.

Driving Spearfish Canyon -- a national scenic byway.  
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally ended a week ago -- still LOTS of bikes on the road!

The DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery was a hoot!  That is a Fisheries Railcar in the background.
Who knew there could be a FISH CULTURE Hall of Fame? 

Spearfish Creek

Homestead Open Cut Mine in Lead.  

A Rails to Trails 100 mile bike path.
UM.   It took 255 days to build the rail line in 1890.   15 years to do the bike path.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

South Dakota!

We headed south from North Dakota and found....South Dakota.  This seemed to be about the loneliest stretch of road yet; eventually even the oil rigs and fracking spots gave way to grassy rolling plains.  After that drive seeing the "Black Hills" was like arriving somewhere, anywhere!!

Enroute to Spearfish we passed two landmarks:  Amidon ND and Belle Fourche SD.

Dream On for all sorts of far away places!

A family name on my Dad;s side -- Amidon -- glad they left!

That't the town -- don't blink!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Teddy Roosevelt National Park -- The Petrified Forest

Teddy Roosevelt NP includes the 3rd most extensive collection of petrified wood in any national park (Petrified Forest and Yellowstone are #1 & 2).   The Badlands contain a wealth of fossil information including petrified trees as well as fossils of freshwater clams, crocodiles, alligators, and turtles.  The park was once on the eastern edge of a flat, swampy area that contained dense forests of sequoia, bald cypress, magnolia and other water-loving trees.  Today the remnants dot the trail and are a stunning sight.

TR as a pirate on the trail markers

Walk through the prairie until the edge into the badlands..

All the stumps and bumps are petrified wood 

More stumps dot the hillside

Lovely colors & patterns

Teddy Roosevelt National Park, Part 1

Who knew there was a Teddy Roosevelt National Park?  We do now!

Teddy Roosevelt came to the Badlands of North Dakota in 1883 -- to shot a buffalo before they were all gone!  He fell in love with the area and returned multiple times over the next decade.  Through the years he came to see the damage done to the land by rampant grazing and over hunting.   The lure of New York and national politics pulled him back east, but he was a changed man.  And as President, Conservation became one of his major concerns.  He established the US Forest Service and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act.  This Act proclaimed 18 national monuments; he later added 5 national parks and 51 wildlife refuges.  The Badlands of North Dakota renewed & re- invigorated Teddy; as it does today as a National Park in his honor.

Come on in -- complete with local color!

Ride'em Teddy -- note the Maltese Cross Brand

The Little Missouri originally flowed north to Hudson Bay but during the last ice age was forced to turn east.
This is point of "east" turn.

Guess we will find a new trail.  None of that Share the Road ethos with bison.

Maltese Cabin -- scene of TR's glamping in the Badlands.
Glamping = glamorous camping....

TR;s brand -- find bullet casing in upper left corner of brand.
It's original...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Missouri River Turns Left

Tracing the Missouri River up through the heartland, it suddenly turns left (west) in the middle of North Dakota.  The turn is also the spot for a huge Corps of Engineers Dam that forms Lake Sakakawea--the playground for folks from North Dakota.  

The Missouri River Valley the traditional homeland for the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes. All the tribes were well adapted to the conditions on the Upper Missouri River Valley.  They built summer villages (up to a 120 earthlodges in a village) on natural river terraces and winter villages down by the river's edge.  The women farmed corn, squash, and beans; the men hunted bison.  They traded surplus crops with other tribes.

Lewis and Clark spent the winter on the east side of the Missouri with the Mandan tribe at Fort Manden.  They hired Toussaint Charbonneau (who had been living with the Hidatsu) to join their expedition.  His Shoshone wife (Sakakawea) was critical to the Lewis & Clark expedition.

Double Ditch Indian Village Site along the Missouri
Settlement had been continuously occupied for several hundred years....until smallpox in 1830s.

Pottery shards and bone fragments 

A lovely snake -- and -- I'm out of here!

Rebuilt Ft Mandan; winter home for Lewis & Clarke expedition

Nice room -- for 20 men who slept in the attic

Knife River Village -- home of Sakakawea -- on the bluff above the Knife River