Spearfish Canyon and Deadwood…still in South Dakota

This ridge is the view from our lodge window.  Spearfish Canyon, where we are currently residing…for two whole days!…is stunning.  The weather is perfect (70s) and the lodge has three hiking trails which lead to waterfalls and a canyon ridge.  A stream runs alongside the property and the boys quickly found themselves in it, daring each other to plunge into the cold clear current.

Following a hearty breakfast and some down time (imagine the pleasure of being able to sit in dappled sunlight beside a stream reading after being confined to a car for over 1500 miles) we filled our backpack and headed out on a short hike through the canyon to Roughlock Falls.  We couldn’t swim in the falls like we had hoped, but that didn’t stop Harcourt and Stites from dipping in the creek on the way back.  Eli, in an atypical burst of energy, ran back down the path and was a bit concerned that we took 45 minutes longer than he did to return to the lodge.  Sometimes natural consequences come naturally.

 After years of pleading, the Allen children’s parents finally took them to a gold mine where they could pan for gold.  But first we made them endure a (very entertaining) tour of a historic gold mine.  The Broken Boot Gold Mine was never terribly successful as a mine, producing only 1.5 ounces of gold a day back in its heyday, but we got to see a variety of minerals (graphite, copper, quartz, iron, pyrite, and…gold) in its tunnels.  And then the kids got to pan for gold.  Using gravel in which gold flakes had been “planted.”  We bought an extra pan to give authentic panning a shot in the creek behind the lodge.

Last destination of the day:  Deadwood.  Let me assure you, it is not as entertaining as the HBO series.  (Which I haven’t seen.)  It’s touted as a historic wild west town; the final resting place of Will Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, as well as a gold prospector named Potato Johnny who purportedly found a gold nugget as big as a potato. (I’m assuming that event preceded his nickname.)  Now it is home to slot machines.  And t-shirt vendors.  And hourly dramatizations.  

We sat in the sawdust-floored festive museum/bar Saloon 10 and witnessed a re-enactment of Wild Bill’s demise.  Quick summary:  he never sat with his back to the door, but just this one time he did and…he got shot.  Unfortunately, the real-live pretend street gunfight we had been waiting for all afternoon got rained out.

The silver lining of too much historical kitsch:  we got to see a double rainbow on the way out of town.

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