We love the southwest desert. We love the wide open spaces, the views that seems to stretch on forever, and the varied shades of brown and red that dominate the landscape. But after four months in the desert, it sure is nice to be surrounded by green. Just look at the grass! And those trees!
This was our site at the Spearfish City Campground in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The campground has two sections, one laid out like a typical park with side by side sites and full hook-ups.
And the primitive area with no hook-ups, no designated sites, and no neighbors. Just how we like it. It was about 40 degrees and windy on the day we checked in, and I think the lady at the registration booth thought we were crazy for not wanting a full hook-up site for only $10 more. The thing is that we really don’t live any different when we have full hook-ups — especially for a short 4 day stay — so spending the extra money for a smaller site with neighbors didn’t make sense. Also, we were enticed by the idea of parking right next to the river.
The weather was a bit wacky during our stay with alternating days of warm sunshine and really cold temperatures. We even awoke to snow one morning! Thankfully it melted by 10am, but I don’t think it ever got out of the 40s that day. Not really a surprise this time of year, but it did put a damper on our hiking plans.
Things improved by the weekend and we were able to hike to the top of nearby Crow’s Peak. This 7-mile round trip hike was just what we needed after a few days of being mostly stuck inside. With a mix of wooded and open trail that climbed steadily to a peak with views, this was not only a great workout, but also a great way to see the surrounding area.
We also took a short bike ride on the paved trail that went though the park and into town. The entire trail was only about 5 miles long, but it followed the river for most of the way making for a pleasant, easy ride.
We also walked across the street to check out the DC Booth Historic Fish Hatchery. It was after hours so we couldn’t go into any of the buildings or visit the museum, but we did get to feed the fish.
That’s it for Spearfish and South Dakota. It was tempting to stay longer, especially since the weather was improving, but we finally got it together to plan out the next few weeks, including a reservation at a lakeside campground in Minnesota for Memorial Day, so we really need to keep moving if we want to make it there in time.
Up next: Our first trip to North Dakota.