Rochford to Hill City

A day of more cow patties (and cows), 3 tunnels, a long climb, more people, and a tumble.

The tumble was not one of the four Badlands Babes, and fortunately was not too serious. Sue bumped into her husband, tangled their wheels and she went down. Some scrapes and gashes, but all in all not too bad. We were near our rest stop at the time, and after good attention by several people, she was cleaned up and bandaided. Sue elected to skip the climbing part (good excuse Sue!) and join us on the more downhill grade to Hill City. She’s a tough gal.

I could have waited to take the photo of cow patties as today we really worked at skirting around them in many places along the trail. The roaming cows were out too and a mama and baby meandered in front of us for a while as we gave way to them. They were as anxious to get out of our way as we were, and soon found a path to take themselves to “safety”.

We came upon the largest waterfall on the Mickelson Trail. Actually, I personally did not see any other waterfall on the trail so for me this was the only.

The Babes are lookin’ good!

We went through three tunnels but after the second we were so used to them I didn’t get a photo of the third. The tunnels are dark and can be a little damp. While riding through the first one it felt like some spirit had taken over my handlebar and I had no control of the squirreling back and forth in a slipping action. I was hoping there was nothing wrong with me! Afterwards I found out that had happened to everyone. And only in the first tunnel.

The “spirited” tunnel. Looks so innocuous yet is the only one that gave us pause.

Trees have been uncloaking their autumn colors more each day during the week we have been here.

After the teaser of our nice five mile downhill grade to lunch, we began our eight miles of climbing. Being a railroad grade, the climbs are not steep, but pedaling eight miles goes pretty slowly as we grind our way to the downhill on the other side.

An old homestead

We ended our riding day at Hill City, this time entering from the north, where we bought our tee shirts on the first day of the tour. So ends our bike tour for this time. But we still had a couple of more things on the agenda. First — a visit to Crazy Horse Monument.

The project started in 1948, and in 1998 the completed face was unveiled. It is an ongoing project by the Korczak family with the finished product to replicate this sculpture..

When Crazy Horse was asked “where is your land?”, by response he reportedly pointed and said “my land is there where all my people are buried”.

The monument buildings are vast and hold a large gift shop, museum, art work, and restaurant.

Back at the Ranch we had time for (maybe) a quick shower and dinner, then to our evening program. Ranger Duane Weber (a former firefighter) gave a full and very interesting talk about Wildland Firefighting. 

We head home tomorrow.

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