Sheridan Lake SD to Three Forks MT
Day 5 Stats: 498 miles, 3 states
After a long, cold night of little sleep (with both dogs curled around me on my narrow cot) we were up by 5 am and ready to pack up. The dogs hopped into the car which ran with the heat on full to eat their breakfast while Daniel and I brewed coffee and broke down the tent in 48 degree temperature.
As we headed out of the Black Hills we stopped on the west bank of Sheridan Lake, the moon setting as the warming sun rose to greet us.
We drove through the brown and green hills and I followed along on our map, watching for points of interest. An undeveloped road off to the left curved up and around to Custer Peak and we decided to check it out. As the gravel turned to dirt then to rocks we could see the fire tower on top of the Peak ahead of us. The road got rockier and harder to traverse in our car, but not to be deterred, we drove to a safe pull off spot and piled out of the car to walk the remainder of the way.
At an elevation of 6,804' the Custer Peak Fire Lookout Tower provided a stunning view of the Black Hills in every direction. After taking in the view we made our way back down to the car. Along the way I collected photos of wildflowers. You can click on the thumbnails below to open a larger version of each photo.
After our hike we were ready for a hearty breakfast. A volunteer at the Rapid City Information Center had mentioned something called Indian Tacos at a place that happened to be along our route so we made our way to Cheyenne Crossing. From their menu: "Cheyenne Crossing has been a landmark since 1878 when the Deadwood-Cheyenne stagecoach stopped here on it's regular route. Sometime in early 1930s a café was added." The Indian Tacos (basically your typical taco toppings on Indian Fry Bread) were delicious, as was the slice of carrot cake we took with us to go.
From there it was time to make some progress west. We exited the Black Hills, driving out through Spearfish Canyon, admiring the beauty of South Dakota along the way. Our destination for the night was another KOA. Once the tent was pitched and the beer was opened I typed out a blog post as the sun set.