As summer wound down, it was time for a little Family Vaca: A few days visiting Tony’s parents in South Dakota and a few days hiking in the Black Hills, a part of the country I’d never seen. Before we could load up the car, though, there was work to do. We were taking Tony’s parents our old bed so they could trade out their guest bed. Four year ago, Tony and his buddies moved this Queen sized mattress and box spring into the house and up the stairs. Tony and I couldn’t for the life of us figure out how! Thank goodness for new windows. We ended up popping the glass panels out and sliding the boxspring down the ladder to the truck bed.
A random couple drove by and asked if we needed help. That’s how comical this was!
And thus, we were off on our trip with bed, baby, and dog for the 500 mile journey. We left EO with the grandparents for a few days of playing while we took Charlie to “The Hills” and Spearfish Canyon.
Despite record breaking heat, the hiking was fantastic. Day 1 was an easy 2 mile trek along the creek to Roughlock Falls.
For Day 2 we were able to start early and kick it up a notch. The first stop was Community Caves, a short but challenging climb, according to the guide book. The best part, though, was the directions to find the trail: “You will need to find a way across the creek. Once across, you will see a bunch of rocks and small stream. Follow this up to the caves.” So we crossed the creek and didn’t see any pile of rocks, but we did see what looked like a trail. Tony even noticed that a tree branch was broken, so clearly people had been here recently.
When we got to the 15 foot tall rock wall with only tree roots to use to make our way up, we decided this could not possibly be right, and that there was no way Charlie would make it up here. Retracing our steps, we crossed the creek and turned further down stream, only to find these two signs that we were now heading the right direction: a make-shift bridge and a pile of rocks.
Apparently my vision of a neat little pile to mark the trail head was a bit off.
It was a fun trail that led to a cool old cave.
By this point temps were approaching 95, so we decided to forgo our plan to hike to the rim of the canyon, and instead we opted for an easy walking trail to a great waterfall – Spearfish Falls.
For lunch we stopped at the Canyon Picnic grounds. Each spot had a private parking spot, table, and a grill. It was right by the creek, and there was even a boardwalk to walk along the water after we ate.
That afternoon, since it was so hot, we decided to do the water hike to Devil’s bathtub. It was a gorgeous hike along, and often through, Squaw Creek to a pool of icy cold water and a natural water slide.
It was the most crowded trail we hiked all week, but it was gorgeous!
That afternoon we treated ourselves to homemade ice cream in downtown Spearfish!
For our last day of hiking, we gave Charlie the morning off. The ’76 Trail was named in honor of the path walked by gold miners in 1876 and it ascends 1,000 feet in ¾ of a mile. At the top we were rewarded with a beautiful aerial view of the canyon.
Our final hike was to Eleventh Hour Gulch, and this is literally the trail head:
You’d never see it from the road if you weren’t looking really hard. Once we walked through the trees, this is what we saw:
We couldn’t help reminiscing about one of our favorite Tortola experiences – The Ghut Hike. Apparently a Gulch is a Ghut! This one was complete with some very rickety looking ladders up some of the steeper rocks.
At the top we had a great view of Spearfish Creek.
What a fun day!
We missed our little man, but we were glad we didn’t have to worry about him in the heat. It was great to get away for a few days!