Friday, March 1, 2019

Let's Ride the Black Hills

 Today we continue our series on South Dakota. For this article I'm going to focus on the side by side riding portion of the trip. Like I mentioned in the previous article, South Dakota is very ATV/UTV friendly. To me, this means that they embrace this style of recreation and make great efforts to create and map trails, as well as promote riding opportunities. They are one of the few states that allow OHV's to be licensed for the street and having the ability to leave your campground and take the streets to the trailhead widens the areas that you can explore in your allotted time. That's exactly what we took advantage of while we stayed at Mystic Hill's Hideaway. 
 We picked up a Forest Service map from the front desk of the RV park and combed over it, but we didn't stop there. The park had quite a few folks that were there to ride like we were and they had already been riding for a few days. So, naturally, we talked with them and got a few tips on what trails we wanted to hit. This is how we learned of a few sits that are not on the map. In fact, they tipped us off to a gas station that sold a map that had some of the more interesting points of interest marked out. This map became our most useful map of the trip. 
 The tree lined trails are similar to what we find in Utah. Some roads are tight and windy, others are long and wide. All of them were fun.
 From the trails we were able to access a historic cemetery where small signs tell stories of some of the earliest residents from the most innocent, like children, to the worst of the worst, murderers. A funny thing, we visited two cemeteries during this trip and both of them were placed on the side of a mountain. This may not seem like a big deal today, but these cemeteries were in use in the late 1800's. They had to haul the caskets up these hills. I'm not sure that I would be first in line to volunteer to be a pallbearer in this neck of the woods. 
 The highlight landmark, though, had to be one of the many underground caves that the Black Hills hide. This cave was nothing like the nearby Jewel Cave or Wind Cave, it is small in comparison and is really in the middle of nowhere. In fact, if you aren't careful you could actually drive right into it. The roads literally run over the top of the cave. We crawled down into the cool earth about fifty feet until we ran out of room to explore. Despite the shallowness, we really enjoyed crawling around down there. It sort of stokes the fire of adventure when you find a place like this, especially if you're a fan of geology.
 Well, this was short and sweet. Next week we'll expand our South Dakota trip as we hop in a rental van and explore the sites of the Black Hills. Until then, be safe and have fun this weekend.


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