Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spearfish Canyon Rim

     The last couple of weekends Josh and I haven't strayed too far from home. With such wacky schedules we've been trying to find some time to get out and explore. That day turned out to be Sunday. By 8 AM it was apparent that it could be the hottest day yet this year.

6.5.11 Crow Peak Rec Area
      After a late start we loaded up the Jeep and headed towards Spearfish Canyon via Maitland Road. Maitland Road is basically a local's only dirt road into Spearfish. It winds along the northern side of Spearfish Canyon and offers spectacular views and serene privacy. We turned into Crow Peak Recreation Area and began to explore the two-tracks that run throughout the unit.

     We had been studying maps to find an old unused road that ran between Maitland Rd. and Spearfish Canyon and that day we decided to try every road we came to. We drove for hours on those roads and always ended up having to turn around for washouts and whatnot. The day was really starting to heat up and we were just crawling on these dirt roads without much of a breeze. We came across a road that was overgrown with grass, beautiful lush grass, and so we followed it up hill and to it's end. The road ended on a knoll overlooking Maitland's valley and had a thick carpet of pine needles with jack pines offering shade and respite from the sun.

6.5.11 Improve Picnic under the Pines
     Taking full advantage of the shade, we pulled out a tapestry and our cooler and set to having a picnic on a nearby rock. Oranges, granola bars, and peanut butter crackers were devoured. And Wu was re-hydrated. It was so peaceful knowing that we were the only ones in those woods. It was like the whole forest was ours to explore. So we did.

     Following our path back we took a fork that we hadn't been down yet. At this point we were off the map. These roads, for the most part impassible by jeep, had become mostly ATV trails. As we were discussing that the road was becoming narrower and likely coming to an end, we realized that we had been creeping along the edge of Spearfish Canyon. There was a spectacular view of the cliffs and the winding road. We took a walk to see where the road was heading which was quickly into a ATV only trail and stopped to enjoy the views. How had this happened?

6.5.11 View of Spearfish Canyon
     We let Wu run for a bit and then we packed up, heading for the Canyon. A swim would have to be next. There are a few spots that we always return to in Spearfish Canyon to catch a quick dip. One of our favorites is past Roughlock Falls on CR 222. It's just a little hole big enough for the three of us. Or one particularly crazy Wu, who happened to be all business. The water was as cold as you would expect it to be in early June in the Black Hills. Josh and I were in and out quickly- it was so cold our legs went numb, not to mention we were getting hungry agian. But Wu was in heaven and playing until we offered him a car ride home. Silly dog.

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