Last updated on 2015.01.11
Another Sunday, another trip up the canyon. This time I pedaled up to Savoy, turned left, and kept going. By my VW odometer (which, interestingly, runs 3% fast), the distance from my new Spearfish digs to Cheyenne Crossing is just a hair over 20 miles. At Cheyenne Crossing, I turned left again, into what my map tells me is Icebox Gulch.
Here's a fine view down US 85-14A, looking west toward Cheyenne Crossing. How lovely!
Too bad I'm heading the other way. Up the hill. Snarf that Pop-Tart, and pedal pedal pedal....
For those of you on the Lead side of Terry Peak who heard maniacal laughter a little before lunch, don't worry: that was just me, finally getting out of granny-gear and taking the slope down to Lead at about five times the speed I climbed up the western side. The spokes I replaced and re-trued held! Whoo-hoo! No pictures, alas: stopping in the middle of that thrilling descent to take a picture would be truly nuts.
I stopped for my second Pop-Tart and refilled my water at the Homestake Open Pit in Lead. Note to future exploiters of the planet: when Uncle Sam orders you to reclaim the land you've disturbed, you don't have to actually restore it to something like its original state. You can just put up a fence and some telescopes and declare your exploitation and tourist attraction.
I suppose there is something to be said for keeping reminders of the marks we've left on the Hills... not that the highways and casinos and housing developments and pine beetles in overgrown forest aren't sufficient reminder....
Highway 85 is a little hairy coming down from Lead to Deadwood, with a rather slim shoulder and some bumps. I'll try the 14 route through Central City next time.
At the end of the big climb out of Deadwood, I stopped for the Preacher Smith marker right by Highway 85. Methodist preacher Henry Weston Smith came to Dakota Territory and held the first Christian church services in the Black Hills in 1876. He was murdered just 18 days after Wild Bill Hickok was shot in Deadwood during that wild centennial summer.
The "Sky Pilot" wasn't shot here; his body was found a couple miles from this obelisk, off the beaten path. It remains uncertain whether the single bullet that pierced the preacher's breast was fired by a Red native or a White invader.
No one shot at this wild-eyed two-wheeled invader on my 47-mile loop through the northern hills. Drivers large and small gave me wide berth, which I much appreciated, especially on Highway 85 north from Deadwood, where rumble strips across the entire shoulder drive riders out onto the white stripe.
So three Sundays in a row I've ridden up Spearfish Canyon and branched off to different adventures under a brilliant blue Black Hills sky. I could do this every Sunday... at least until we get our first three feet of snow!