Sunday, June 26, 2011

Road Trip: Black Hills National Forest, SD

A last glimpse of Washington as we enter the Black Hills.
Jeff did the majority of the driving once we arrived in the Black Hills National Forest. The roads were steep and windy and we spent much of our time on unpaved county ways. We did a quick swing through Mt. Rushmore, and were well enough satisfied with the views from the road that a stop and hefty parking fee didn't seem necessary. The Black Hills get their name from the towering Ponderosa Pines that darken the steep hillsides.

Jeff had picked out our campsite months before and had no recollection of exactly why he chose Dutchman Campground, one of the most remote in the forest. Our GPS led us to what we thought was Dutchman, but upon arrival there was only a locked gate and a sign for hike-in camping. Confused and just a little worried, we turned around and backtracked with the hopes of finding an open campground. With only one wrong detour to a youth camp down a two-mile, rutted dirt road, we finally found the real Dutchman campground. 
As soon as we pulled in, it became clear why Jeff picked this one; it was secluded, wide open, and on a lake so Parker could get his daily swim. Our campsite "backyard" was a slope of ponderosas leading down to the lake shore. 
After a hike through the woods and around part of the lake, Jeff went fishing. He caught two tiny bass. While they weren't big enough to eat, they justified carrying the fishing gear all this way.

Because we arrived to the campsite with so much sunlight left in the day, we still had time to enjoy a nice game of scrabble around the campfire after our hike. 

As dark clouds started to roll in, we ate a quick dinner of cheese and salsa quesadillas, just before the hail storm hit. The three of us retreated back to the van and Parker was again traumatized by the booming thunder, but less so than last time. I think he's making progress. Perhaps by the end of this trip he'll be a changed dog. The Fourth of July explosions will be the major test.


  1. Surprised that Parker let you fish! Would have thought he'd have chased the bobber on every cast! Shows how well trained he is!

  2. great place to camp and relax, been there a few times myself with my '84 vanagon....looks like you have a 90's model...probably a little more reliable. I may even been at the very same camp site. Keep on tripping.