Saturday, October 01, 2011

Deadwood to Devils Tower

Deadwood's Historic Adams House
It was a wonderful feeling waking up and realizing that we didn't have to pack up and leave our hotel.  Kathy and I decided we would stay in Deadwood, SD for a couple of nights and spend Friday traveling close by.  We didn't really need to "do" Deadwood, since Kathy has already been here and done that.  Of course, this city does have some fantastic history, which is worth reviewing once in a while.  The famous and the infamous have called Deadwood and the Black Hills home. Lewis and Clark, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, George Armstrong Custer, Poker Alice, the Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane, and many others have all passed through here in search of fortune and adventure.

Homestake Mine, Lead SD
And for all the hoopla over Gold and Deadwood, it was the town of Lead, just a few miles further on Highway 85, that actually struck it richer. Founded in 1876 by Mining Magnate George Hearst , it's Homestake Mine, which closed in 2002, was the most productive gold mine in the Western Hemisphere, as well as the largest and deepest.  Today, a viewing platform allows visitors to view the Mine and learn about the "rich" history of the area.  It's also worth noting that the town is now home to a "Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory" which deals in dark matter and other nuclear physics studies. By the way, Lead and pronounced Leed, just so ya know.

Bridal Veil Water Fall
We departed Lead on Highway 14 for some picturesque views of the Black Hills, stopping at the areas water falls and generally enjoying the Fall color already prevalent along the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.  Beautiful clear water is a welcome site to a couple from the Lake of the Ozarks.  We typically don't see fish "in" the water, unless they are coming up for air.  Absolutely worth the drive over to Spearfish, where we catch I-90 and head west into Wyoming.

Along the way we run into Vore Buffalo Jump just west of Beulah.  This was something I hadn't run into before, at least the way it was found.  It's one of the most important archaeological sites of the Late-Prehistoric Plains Indians that just happened to be discovered when I-90 was being constructed during the 1970's.  It's a natural sink hole that was used by natives as a buffalo trap around the years 1500 to 1800 and is actively being studied to this day. Different than the Buffalo jumps we have seen where the natives would run them off a cliff, but just as effective.  The building at the bottom of the sink hole was built to protect and expand the excavation unit working the site.

Devils Tower, WY
From there we continue down I-90 to Sundance, where we veer off with Highway 14, then onto Highway 24 to take in Devils Tower.  Movie geeks know this as a key place in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (well, at least I did), however this monstrous rock is a sacred and important landmark to Plains Indians, America's First National Landmark, and draws thousands of visitors a year.  It is 867 feet from the base to the top,  and 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River that runs below it. You just can't appreciate the awe of this place on a movie screen.  Incredible.

Aladdin General Store, WY
From Devils Tower we start our trek back to Deadwood, stopping at the General Store in Aladdin for some shopping, before heading back to South Dakota. Aladdin's General Store was built in 1896 and is one of Wyoming's five remaining 19th century mercantiles. It hasn't changed much in appearance since then.  If you are ever in the area, stop in this town of 15 and check this place out, on Highway 24, a few miles from the state line.

On our way back to the hotel in Deadwood we discovered that our new Grand Girl decided to come a few days early, so we are going wrap up our trip in rapid time so Nana can help out with the other two grand girls while Mom recovers.  Welcome to the world Havana Blue Sky Nobo.  Papa Dave and Nana are on the way to Lawrence, Ks to make sure you get the historic welcome you deserve!

See Day 7 of our trip in pictures here on our Facebook Fan Page!

1 comment:

Jane said...

Hi Dave,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Lead to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Jane