The Dakotas – Day 3

It rained all night. We could hear the pitter patter of water droplets hitting the nylon tent throughout our sleep. It was relaxing. Of course, the beer that we drank the night before helped with that too.We broke down our camp and headed into Spearfish to find food and WiFi. We ate damn good breakfast burritos, charged our devices, and check in to the virtual world at Common Grounds just one block off the main drag.

Before we left town we realized that we had lost one of the bolts from our kayak rack. I’d like to give a shout out to Rushmore Mountain Sports (RMS), a local bike shop, that tried hard to help us by sifting through their spare parts to see if we could jimmy rig something. Eventually there was nothing that would fit the Thule kayak rack but they were a great bike shop and I would definitely stop in there again some day! There was an ACE Hardware up the street where we purchased some washers and nuts and fixed the issue ourselves.

On tap for the third day of our trip? Hiking the 7 mile loop trail to the top of Old Baldy mountain. The summit rose to 6,096 feet which was well below the elevation of our home. The hike started out fairly easy and we did the loop clockwise. We started reconsidering going back to the truck and getting the mountain bikes since the terrain was easy-going. I’m glad that we didn’t as the hike started climbing and I was seeing stretches where I would not have wanted to bike. The weather was great! Sunny, warm, and no rain clouds in sight. We hiked though open meadows and large stands of birch trees which had not yet bloomed which gave them an eery quality.

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The trail was a lot of up and down and was more challenging that we had originally thought it would be. Not that it was hard but we just thought it was going to be a cake-walk. There were lots of other trails that intersected this trail but we didn’t have time to explore any of those. We did, however, take the spur trail up to the summit of Old Baldy where we had lunch. There were plenty of good views and no other people. For Memorial day weekend it was very quiet.

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The trail-head is located in the Spearfish Canyon so as we drove out of the area we got to experience the beauty of the canyon. Even if you don’t have time to hike, a drive through the canyon is well worth it. We continued our drive toward Custer State Park since we knew that the next day we wanted to hike and kayak in the park. We didn’t know where we were staying or what we were doing next so we were just winging it. We ended up finding a camping area in the Black Hills National Forest that was next to a lake…how perfect for us. It was located north of Hwy 16 and the name of the lake was Bismark. We were able to get a “first come first serve” site down by the lake. We quickly unloaded the boats and dropped them into the lake. We wanted to get in some kayaking before sunset. It was great to be using our upper bodies and resting our legs after a day of hiking. The lake wasn’t huge but it was good enough for us to cruise around it a couple of times. It was getting easier and easier to get the boats off the top of the truck the more we practiced with it.

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Kayaking was great! This was the second time out with our new boats and it was so fun. I love that it is a relaxing sport where you can still get a decent workout but feel inspired and calm at the same time.

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After kayaking, we set up camp and busted out some ice cold brews. Hubby tried the Clown Shoes (first time sampling this brewery) Vampire Slayer. It was an imperial American stout and wow was it amazing. I had the Incredible Hop (wet hop IPA) from Fort Collins Brewery and it was dank! It was so hoppy and was truly one of the best beers I’ve had in 2013! Now, of course, I can’t find anymore of it. So bummed.

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~ by willtriforbeer on July 6, 2013.

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