In 2013 I went to The Black Hills, during the same getaway that I visited The Badlands. While the scenery and hiking were vastly different, the connection I felt with the earth around me was very much the same. There is an energy that is soothing and alive in South Dakota. At least in the wild parts. I'd like to share some of my photos from that time, so uhhh...here they are :)
This was at the start of the Harney Peak hike, which is 7,244ft tall- The Black Hill's highest summit. It was a really fun time with a lot of beautiful views. And of course I was super stoked to see deer and chipmunks aplenty. Getting an early start is key to seeing the magnificent animals.
"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." -John Muir
View from the top! This might be the easiest hike I have ever done that's offered such a magnificent view. You could see forever. That much wilderness gives me so much hope.
If you find yourself in South Dakota, you simply must go to the wild horse sanctuary they have. It will change your life in some profound way. Or it wont. But either way, you will see stunning things and meet some very unique people. The landscape is also different from the other parts of SD, and equally as breathtaking. If I find myself back in the area, this is a place I will spend much more time at. Maybe they'd let me camp there. Because that would be amazing.
There isn't a lot I can say on South Dakota that I haven't already. It is a spiritual land that has so much wild left. There is peace and clarity to be had. It's easy to find solitude and it's easy to grow.
"Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are." -Osho
On the tail end of the trip, I was able to go to Devil's Tower. Most people who know me now know that this is a place that has stolen my heart. I have never known such a natural energy as this area. I feel so thankful to have climbed around the base for hours, barefoot and in full sun. Soaking up everything I could and contemplating life. A big goal of mine is to return once I am a better climber, and get to the top. But in the mean time, I think of the Tower lovingly and plan to go back whenever I am given the opportunity.
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature's sources never fail." -John Muir