Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spearfish Canyon Revisted & the Termesphere Gallery

Annie Falls has been calling our names for a few weeks now and first thing Sunday morning Josh, myself and our friend, Matt Kinsey, made our way there. We turned off Spearfish Canyon onto Annie Creek Road and parked at a slight turnoff a couple miles in. The trail head is on the left and easy to miss.

From the natural platform at the top we were surveying the falls and the canyon. Josh took off down the crazy decline towards the fall and Matt and I spied another route down. I thought that I would try to bring Wu down this new route so that we could all spend some time playing in the creek.  Matt went down the same way as Josh to let him know that Wu and I would be attempting a new descent.

9.11 Annie Falls
The new trail is to the left of the natural platform where you can view Annie Falls. At first I didn't think that it would be so bad but it turned out to be pretty steep. Wu was a champion as we hiked down. There was a trail as the route had been used by game and a few people but it was still fairly subjective. We came to one spot where Wu had some trouble until he got the nerve to just do it.

Once we were at the creek it was considerably easier to walk and it was a nice surprise to see Josh and Matt heading our way down another waterfall. At some point there had been a rockslide and the loose rock had created a lower fall. It was awesome how the water flowed through the crevasses and pooled in basins.

It was here that we discovered the carcass of a coyote that had fallen from the cliffs above.The bones were sun-bleached and surprisingly, nearly intact. It was an interesting sight but it also put into perspective how we really needed to pay attention to our footing during these adventures. Wet rock and pine needles make things a little slick.

9.11 Matt at Annie Falls
We played around in the creek for some time. Taking pictures and exploring. At Annie Falls we found the geocache that's stashed there. Josh made the find. We all signed the log book and left a few trade items. It's a good hide and making it more difficult are the canyon walls which bounce the GPS signal around. Good times!

We took the route that Wu and I had taken down on our way up again. In only one spot (a different one than before) did Wu get nervous but he atacked it with his usual bear-ness and ran circles around us. This is a more dog friendly route than the regularly used trail but I would only recommend it for very athletic dogs who are just a bit crazy.

By the time that we were heading out a few families showed up to enjoy the falls. We took off north to Community Caves. Since it was a recent find, Matt hadn't been there before and it was on our 'to see' list.

We parked at a large parking lot about 3 miles south of the Northern Entrance to Spearfish Canyon. Before we had made it to the trail we passed a family who told us that it was quite crowed today. They were right. The hike took about 15 minutes and thankfully we were able to enjoy it without the trail being crowded. The hike up follows a ravine and is moderately difficult. The climb is beautiful: leading from a dry creek bed up to the forest canopy.

9.11 Family Picture at Community Caves
At the top the large overhang houses a number of caverns. There's a waterfall that falls over the lip and flows down the trail. We relaxed here for a bit. There's not much to do at the top beyond exploring the caverns and enjoying the views.

It's a very interesting geological feature and worth the hike. We haven't seen anything quite like this anywhere else in the Hills. But ofcourse when something is this unique word gets around and as a result there were a lot more people at the caves than we were hoping for. Our visit was short but it was still a lot of fun. 

Our last stop of the afternoon was at the Termesphere Gallery. It's tucked away on Christensen Drive on the outskirts of Spearfish. We have passed a hundred times and always said that we'd do it soon. Well, soon came Sunday afternoon.

From the road it's almost impossible to see the buildings that make up the gallery and the Termes family home but the glimpses you get allude to something architecturally unique. The dirt driveway leads up to the front doors and you finally get to see the geometric building that houses the gallery.

9.11 The Termesphere Gallery 
The Termesphere was first created by Dick Termes thirty something years ago. On a globe he paints with a six-point perspective which isn't something easily explained in words. You could say that he paints everything he sees in every direction from his one point. It's something you should see. Each Termesphere is an optical illusion and a mathmatical piece of art.

Around the Northern Black Hills there are Termespheres on display all over the place. We had seen the ones at Saloon #10, Spearfish Chamber of Commerce, the Deadwood Visitor Center, and the Spearfish City Park and each was hypnotizing. Each piece is amazing but to have the greatest Termesphere experience you should visit the gallery. A lifetime of Termespheres are on display to enjoy.

Our entrance to the gallery was by donation and they told us that they are open whenever they're home. After feeling the impact of all of the Termespheres and finding our favorites, we realized that this is one of our best finds yet and we will surely be returning!

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