Home Away From Home, South Dakota

Spearfish Falls

Sometimes you just need to slow down and that’s what we did today, eventually. We decided that we would drive Spearfish Canyon and stop whenever we wanted to. Spearfish Canyon is absolutely beautiful and waiting to be photographed. Our first stop was Bridal Veil Falls and Jerry realized immediately that his camera battery was dead so back to the campground we went. He got a charged battery and I took two ibuprofens for my back which was better but not 100%. We returned to the canyon and rode on past Bridal Falls as the parking lot – and I’m using that term loosely – was full so we went on until we reached Homestake #2 Hydroplant. The plant was opened in 1917 using the water of Spearfish Creek to create electricity for the huge gold mine located in Lead. This plant is no longer in use but its older sister plant which was opened in 1911 and located near Spearfish City Campground is still operational and providing power.

Before we knew it, we had passed Victoria’s Tower, a large mass of limestone, the 11th Hour Gulch, a narrow slot and Kissing Rocks. There were no obvious signs and very quickly we were at Savoy. The parking lot was full but we managed to snag a space near the restaurant and the trailhead for the Spearfish Falls. Although it’s described as a moderate 1 ½ mile hike I’d categorize it as easy and not nearly 1 ½ miles. It was a clearly defined path which led to the floor of the canyon and the beautiful Spearfish Falls. Even though it was a warmer day it was so cool at the bottom. There were several people there and a few of the younger ones actually got in the stream which was moving pretty rapidly. In fact, one young boy fell over and was completely wet. No one seemed to sense any danger of trying to go beneath the falls.

We returned to the car and after realizing that it was nearly noon we decided to go up to the top of Roughlock Trail where there was a picnic area. Our fourth attempt at a picnic – the previous three had been either in the car or the RV – was a success. We found a lovely place with shaded picnic tables and enjoyed our lunch. It was so peaceful that I just laid down on the bench and quite frankly it made my back feel pretty good. We talked about hiking to the falls but decided that we’d wait to do that tomorrow.

Since we had entered from the North Entrance, we decided to follow the road to the South entrance. We had a beautiful ride as we wound through the forest. We had entered through the Northern Great Plains Grasslands, traveled through Eastern Deciduous Forest and then ended the drive in the Northern Coniferous Forest. Continuing on we passed through Lead and then before we realized it we were in Deadwood and there we came to an immediate stop. It seems they are celebrating Days of ’76 and there was a parade going on. The fellow redirecting traffic sent us back to Maitland Road, a graveled, dusty, fairly well-traveled road of about nine miles, or so they say. It felt like much more. Interestingly enough when I told our campground owner about the ride she told me that we were actually on Maitland Road. We took a left when a right would have led us to the campground. But as she said, we didn’t know.

We made a stop at Walmart for hamburgers for dinner and then decided to call it a day. We both were running on low energy so we just needed to slow down a bit. We both took a little nap and then sat outside. The downside to being outside is that our neighbor in his really, really nice Essex is having a power problem so his generator is running. So much for our quiet time but it was still nice to be outside just sitting. Jerry worked on his painting and I read.