Monday, August 8, 2011

Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary & Community Caves

A few days ago I came across an article about Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary, a place open to the public as a place to reflect and be at peace. This seemed like a very cool idea and on my next day off I headed that way. Nate happened to have the day off and he came along. The dogs were in tow. I instantly realized what a special place this was and knew that I'd be back in a matter of days with Josh. It was something that he needed to experience.

Entrance to Pathways 8.11
That day came on Sunday. I had told him just enough details to get his interest peaking and we woke up early with anticipation. We were in great moods as we cruised out on Rochford Road. It's beautiful country out that way. Pathways is located on Juso Ranch Road, just across from the Dumont Trailhead of the Mickelson Trail.

We parked in the lot, leashed the dog and passed through the gate. It felt as though we were entereing a private, sacred place. We read the welcome prayer, which wasn't religious, so much as spiritual. And when we walked on I think we both felt lighter.

The Invocation, 8.11
 The walking path was wide easy to navigate and natural to follow. Our first stop was at the statue called "The Invocation".  It's a larger than life depiction of a warrior on the back of a bucking horse with only a buffalo hide between them. Raised to the sky, the warrior holds a buffalo skull. The statue has begun to patina and it was awe inspiring. It was impossible not look look at it from all sides in wonder.

The path first lead us through an aspen grove, then up a slight hill and through the woods. Along the way were nooks with plaques with quotes to contemplate and benches to sit in wonder. There were many religious quotes from a wide variety of regions, each emphasizing one-ness. It felt like a very positive place. We don't want to give away too much because it really is something to see.

Gandhi quote on the walking path, 8.11
We took our time and sat on quite a few benches. We sat and listened to a symphony of insects wake up and enjoyed the dew on our feet.  We eventually made our way back to the beginning. As we exited through the gate we promised to come back here soon. Our early morning visit had been inspiring.

Late that afternoon, after lunch and a nap, we headed to Spearfish Canyon to find Community Caves. Earlier this spring I had thought that I had glimpsed a frozen waterfall that could have been the Caves. I had asked just about every local friend and search every blog on the Black Hills and it was only a few days before when a few friends had hiked it. After a few details, we had a better idea of where we were going.

Community Caves, 8.11
We parked at the turnout that was 2.7 miles, crossed the highway and walked back towards Spearfish along the creek bed. The trail was fairly easy to find and we began the assent up a rocky ravine to the caves. About halfway up a small stream of water washes through the path and it seems as though we've stepped into another world.

Community Caves 8.11
At the top of the ravine a waterfall spills over the overhang that houses a series of small caves. Some of the caves had smoke damage and one had artwork. The water spilling over the edge was cold and we used it to cool ourselves. We hung out for awhile and enjoyed the peacefulness.

On the way home we had to pass through Deadwood, which is gearing up for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. It seemed like a nice night to enjoy a dinner at Diamond Lil's and an ice cream. We walked around town and took all the bikes in. The streets rumbled with the thunder of Harley's and it was a good way to end our adventurous day.

No comments:

Post a Comment