Shortly after checking out of the hotel we headed to the Black Hills. First up was Mt. Rushmore. A first time visit for me to the monument. We decided not to pay the $11 entrance free and took pictures from the road. It would have been a large waste of time and we had much better tasks ahead of us.
Before embarking on some trails we stopped at a ranger station to get some maps and recommendations. The ranger there pointed us to Harney Peak. The largest peak east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Pyrenees. Clocking in at around 7200 ft it was a nice little warm up hike for the next few days. It took us about two and a half hours to ascend and the view was definitely worth it. I will say though that climbing in the thin air did hit us hard. Especially because we were hiking with full packs, around 40 lbs, for the first time this trip.
The descent went fast and instead of pushing on further we decided to setup camp early and relax for a bit. We found a nice flat spot after about an hour after leaving the peak (43.85729, -103.52838). It was our first bit of off the trail camping so far this trip. It was nice for once to be isolated out in the wild and not surrounded by other campers. and slowing down to recuperate was nice for tired legs. I decided to fire up the emergency radio to see what kind of radio stations were available. It was interesting because we were so high up there had to be hundreds of stations. I was able to pick up a station every degree or two on the knob. I settled on some jazz and relaxed my eyes for an hour or so before cooking dinner.
Up next is a trip to the northwest end of the Black Hills in Wyoming