Finding gold in the Black Hills!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rokklym, May 27, 2006.

  1. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    PAHA SAPA

    Paha Sapa &#8211; That means &#8220;<st1:place>Black Hills</st1:place>&#8221; to the Lakota, or Teton Sioux. To the Sioux Indians, it is a sacred place, the &#8220; Axis Mundi &#8221;, or center of the world, and the place of the gods. Warriors would visit Paha Sapa for visions and to speak with the Great Spirit.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The Lakota weren't the only ones interested in the Black Hills. Rumors of Gold in the <st1:place>Black Hills</st1:place>lead to an expedition party of 1000 people to be sent into the hills in 1874 led by General George Armstrong Custer of the 7th US Cavalry. A few months after the groups arrival, a man names Horatio N. Ross discovered gold along French Creek in the central Black Hills. One of the last great North American gold rushes inevitably followed.

    Rumors of &#8220;Gold&#8221; are what led Bryan and I to pack up and head to the hills. Stories of prime trails in the 1.2 million acre Black Hills Nat. Forest are what got our interest up, along with the fact there is 5000 miles of primitive roads that criss cross the forest and they are considered "open unless closed". What that means is that everything is open, unless its specificly gated or posted.


    Here is the story of our journey.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,694
    :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. DRglidarn

    DRglidarn Panzer pilot

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    Starts out good, more please:lurk
    #3
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Nice introduction Chad. Lets get this thing rolling.

    So Chad calls me the other day. He says there is some good riding out in the Black Hills and wants to know if I am interested in going out there. Sure! We bounce calendars and pick out some dates. Next thing I know we have the bikes in the back of his pickup and we are on our way.
    Here is Chad putting the finishing touches on our load up in Westby, WI.
    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    OK, I'm back, lets get rollin'

    I've been out to the Black Hills a few times for the rock climbing so I knew that there was some great scenery out there, and lots of gravel roads. This spring I almost had to go out there for a wedding so I started to look at the maps and I got interested. Those plans fell through until a thread popped up here in the central forum and got me re-interested. I haven't taken a trip with Bryan for a while and I figured that we could make something work..the plan was set.

    Rapid City South Dakota is about a 10 hour drive for me, and then getting into the hills is at least another hour. On all my other trips out there we have always driven through the night since there isn't much to see on the way. Tuesday night Bryan shows up at my house and we stuff about as much shit as you can stuff into a Ranger and headed westward.
    9 hours, 4 Red Bulls, 0 sleep, and god knows what else later I pull the truck off the freeway at the Badlands exit. I've actually never stopped there before and was itching for a little break in the interstate driving so we drove the loop road at sunrise.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    Being a cheap bastard, I decided we should check out the free campgrounds first. The Black Fox CG was top on our list due to its proximety to the good trails.
    [​IMG]

    The view from our tent site
    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    The entire area had some excellent looking trout habitat. In fact, we watched a trout feed right behind our campsite one evening. Here are some shots of some other streams.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    I'm having issues with my internet... I'll have to wait and do the updates.

    Once we got camp set up we had to take a break and catch some zzz's
    After a little siesta, we both felt a little better and decided to go for a ride. After unloading the bike I noticed my headlight was out. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. We took it all apart and tried everything and eventually got it working again.
    [​IMG]

    after that episode, we hopped on the bikes and headed to high country.
    [​IMG]


    We came across alot of old cabins up in the mountains. Some were in OK shape and some were about gone. It amazing when you think about the early settlers making their way up here and trying to make a living.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    We came across a variety of wildlife in our travels. We came across elk, deer, turkeys, coyotes, and a bunch of other stuff. Lots of tracks along the trails we rode. We also got to see bison and free ranging donkeys.
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    One thing I forgot to mention was the high winds we found when we got out there. A high wind advisery was in affect and it was obvious the the winds had done some damage up in the hills. We encountered alot of downed trees and that made for some interesting moments..more on that later.
    [​IMG]

    We came out near the old town of Rochford and decided to stop by the Moonshine Gulch Saloon for a bite to eat.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    [​IMG]

    We rode alot of doubletrack and gravel, with a bit of singltrack and no-track thrown in.
    [​IMG]

    This was a great section of trail that wound down through a ravine and emptied out in a high meadow.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    [​IMG]Like Chad was saying, we ran into some high winds the day we got there (gusts up to 60 mph). One blast just about flattened our tents while we were in them. Trees were down all over. Seems like large vehicles would have to carry a chain saw along just to get around. We had to pick our way around (or sometimes through) a lot of downed trees.

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    The riding was great, but sometimes the views were better!

    The name <st1:place>Black Hills</st1:place>[FONT=&quot] refers to the dark appearance of the mountains when seen from afar, caused by the dense stands of Ponderosa Pine (a western species) and White Spruce (a northern species, far from its primary range here). The other common conifer is Lodgepole Pine, and deciduous species include Bur Oak (at the very western extent of its range), Quaking Aspen, Green Ash, American Elm, and Paper Birch. The deciduous trees are found mainly along rivers and streams.

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT]
    #13
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    [​IMG]This was a very relaxing trip. The weather was great (usually got up into the high 80s/low 90s), the trails were nice, and the pace was relaxed. We just rode around looking at things. No racing or hot dog stuff, just a comfortable ride. Chad got us out there and set up with no worries. My only responsibilities were map and route work on the trail - something second nature after a career in the Army.
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    Animals

    One cool aspect of this area is the wildlife. Like Bryan said we ran across a quite a few different animals. I told Bryan that his new nickname was going to be "deer bait" since all the damn Mule Deer seemed to want to try to run in front of him.

    Here is one of the Coyotes we saw.
    [​IMG]

    Bryans got a better pic of the Elk. They were crossing the road when we came up to them and they stood in the woods checking us out.
    [​IMG]
    You can kinda see one between the trees in the center.
    #16
  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,515
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    Ghost towns.

    With all the mining history in the area, you can't help but get caught up in it. We came through the ghost town of Mystic many times. Now, you would never know how much used to happen in that little valley.


    Mystic was originally called Sitting Bull but changed its name when the railroad came through in the late 1880s. The town was the site of a large gold mill, an experimental plant set up in 1904 at the cost of about a million dollars to extract gold by an advanced chlorination process. The plant was a failure and its old foundations were used to support a sawmill. The store, a school, a church, and a few homes are all that are left from its more prosperous days.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the old assay office.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the Granary and a chemical storage shed.

    [​IMG]

    On the left side of the road there used to be a lumber mill, which was originally a cyanide mill and then on the right side of the road there used to be a railroad, which is now part of the George Mikkleson trail.


    #19
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,890
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
    #20