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Black Hills chock full of surprises

link Clyde Davis

Local columnist

I was surprised, though not too surprised, at the number of people I know who have been there, particularly on motorcycles.

“There” is the Black Hills, including Mount Rushmore, and it’s not really much of a surprise because it’s really not too far. If you were without children and got an early start, you could make it in one day. We didn’t, and we’re not, so we didn’t. Nonetheless, the drive is included in the “new things encountered"category, for my family.

Like our trip to the Grand Canyon several weeks ago. The best part of going to see Mount Rushmore is the amazing experience of one of the human-made wonders of the world., particularly at night, when the lights illuminate the faces, we might feel ourselves to be in the presence of one of the miracles of our nation, in terms of who is depicted.

Certainly none of these presidents was without fault, as no person is, but one wonders what their perspective on current affairs might be, given the ideals which they held.

Biggest surprise: The incredible beauty of the Black Hills, themselves. As you emerge from the foothills and into the higher elevation, it becomes clearer and clearer why the Lakota and Cheyenne held this territory to be sacred — wish we had more time for hiking and exploring the woodlands.

Biggest symbol: (literally!) The bison. My wife got a closeup view of a small herd as we were leaving the area, and was amazed at the impact of their size and strength. Remember that, if you want to see bison close up, you do not need to go to South Dakota. Ned Houk Park can give you a view of these majestic animals, so there is really no excuse.

Biggest disappointment: The Crazy Horse monument. Under construction since 1948, it appears that only the head of the great warrior chief is completed. Since we were unwilling to pay the $28 required to actually enter the area, I may be wrong, but that’s how it appears from the turnaround area. The $28 itself was part of the disappointment; this is supposed to be a non profit project?

Biggest cool thing to do: the town of Keystone, where we stayed, has a great and enticing boardwalk area. The town of Hill City, which we passed through when leaving, has an even more enticing one. It was lots of fun on our first evening there, and on subsequent evenings as well.

With limited time and resources, a great deal was left undiscovered. We will hopefully, now that we know the “ropes,” be able to return someday.

No, not on motorcycles. You’re never going to get me on a motorcycle ... but God bless those who do have the courage to go to nearby Sturgis.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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