Spearfish Canyon/O! Frabjous Day! Calloo! Callay!

[Editor’s note: Another post that went missing. Looking at the blog calendar, this date is empty, though I know it was published. Here it comes again.]

We left Devil’s Tower without being abducted by aliens. When I take down my tent, I remove the rainfly, drop the tent, then remove and disassemble the poles. While the poles were standing without fabric to obscure the view, they had a decidedly windswept look (like a windswept pelvic fracture for those of the orthopedic trauma persuasion). I’ll have to be sure it’s facing the other way for the next windstorm.

Sunday night was a dust storm before it became a hailstorm. The hail was the size of garbanzo beans. Someone who was staying in a cabin said she was standing in the open doorway watching the storm when a bird was blown into her cabin. It shook itself, stood on the floor of the cabin for a minute, then flew back into the maelstrom.

Aladdin, pop 15 – but it still has a park! (Right behind me in this view.)

We rode through the town of Aladdin. The morning was slightly downhill with a tailwind – fast and easy riding. After picnic we climbed through Spearfish Canyon, a gentle climb for the first 1800 feet of elevation gain and a killer for the last 600 feet. We climbed for more than 20 miles.

The wide-open spaces of Wyoming reminded me of all the cowboy and gold rush songs from my childhood, like:
Oh, send me to Nome
Where the heffalumps roam,
Where the dear, handy antelope pray.
Where’s L. Thomas Hurd, a discouraging nerd?
In disguise I knock loudly all day.
Horm, hormones deranged…”

I stopped for espresso at Blackbird Espresso in Spearfish, a nice little shop that was very busy. The first place I stopped was closed on Mondays – isn’t that the day working people are in greatest need of coffee? The stop was useful anyway, as I discovered that my stem had worked loose so I tightened it – a loose stem on a fast descent would have been a Bad Thing.

On the way up the canyon I stopped at Bridal Veil Falls and The Devil’s Bathtub, chatting with a family from North Carolina.

Bridal Veil Falls

Devil’s Bathtub is a natural water park – a curving water slide into a pool. I didn’t feel like riding 20 miles in wet shorts so I passed it up.

How the other 1% lives. To the left (offscreen) is the intercom to get the gates opened. This was the first house in maybe 20 miles, in the Black Hills National Forest

I have a panoramic video of Spearfish Canyon but, with no Wi-fi here, I don’t want to use up the data to upload it. I do wonder how the terms “mountain” and “hill” get chosen. The Black Hills certainly look like mountains to me.

We passed a great historical marker (there is probably a photo of it in the 2018 post), acknowledging the theft of the Black Hills from the Lakota. It notes that the “legality is still in dispute”. I think there is no dispute that the land grab was a violation of the 1868 treaty – the only dispute is over whether the US will do anything about it – they certainly won’t cede back the land, but will we ever pay for it?

We are sleeping in a field at the top of these 88 steps.