Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Glimpse of the Black Hills

 How can I give you a taste of the Black Hills?

You can get an idea of the grandeur from this picture of Harney Peak - it's in the distance, in the center of the picture, several miles from us. It's the tallest mountain between the Rockies and the Pyrenees.

Between us and Harney Peak lies the Black Elk Wilderness Area. Acres and acres of Ponderosa Pines (like the ones in the foreground) that inspired the Lakota to call these hills "Paha Sapa".

Yup, you guessed it, paha sapa means "black hills".


 But in the midst of all this grandeur, you have the details. This is a bed of rose quartz. It runs in a vein through a huge rock formation.

You'll find things like this all over the Black Hills - this particular spot is at the back side of Mt. Rushmore.

South of here, on the other side of Mt. Rushmore, the area abounds in mica. I wish I could get a picture to do it justice.

We like to say the Black Hills have "bling". It shines in the sun like shards of broken glass, carpeting the trail and roadsides with sparkles. Sometimes you can pick up a single, translucent layer of rock, tissue-thin, that will crumble to dust between your fingers if you're not careful.


 Did I say huge rock formations? This is another one - just down the trail from where I took the picture of the rose quartz.

And that's my 6 foot tall, 18-year-old son up there.
 Even though it was 65 degrees last Saturday, there's still snow in the sheltered spots.
  

Pictures are so limited though, aren't they? They can't do justice to the experience.

You can't hear the wind sighing in the tops of the trees.

Or the ...quiet...

       ...only disturbed by an occasional bird pecking and scratching at the trees, searching for an early beetle or two.


 You can't smell the rich odor of sun baked pine needles...

...or the absolute freshness of clean air...

       ....air so clean you can see fifty miles.

And you can't feel the spine of the earth under the soles of your shoes as you search for sure footing over the rocks...
 
 

But I hope you can catch some of the feeling I get when I look down a trail leading through the forest...

I wonder what's around that bend?















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