Custer, SD

We were a bit nervous staying in Custer over the beginning of one of the most elaborate cosplay festivals ever. But so far it has been more fun than annoying although I do wish the fine folks at Harley-Davidson would do something about quieting their engines a bit.

Corey and I first climbed to Black Elk Peak when it was named Harney. That was in 1999. Bill Clinton was president. A quarter would get you a steak, potatoe, beer and some change back. And we had never ever slept in a tent west of the Mississippi or seen the world from a 7,000 foot elevation.

A few years back we did this hike in a brutal hail storm. Why, you ask, did we hike in a brutal hail storm? Well when we began the hike it was a beautiful sunny day. Yesterday also started off nice with only a bit of smoke hanging in the clouds. And then about two thirds of the way back it was lightning all over the damn place. So we hung back before climbing that last ridge (where I would be the highest point) then charged ahead after estimating the storm was quickly moving away (this was determined via the Poltergeist method- counting the time between flash and sound). Storms are always awesome after the fact (assuming of course all is still well). This one was no exception. Truly humbling to see lightning strikes a few miles away along the ridges of the needle landscape. Later we saw a helicopter picking up water to drop. Maybe it was due to those lightning strikes.

In Sioux Falls we saw several state flags with the rainbow colors superimposed over the logo as well as a church proudly flying a Pride flag. At the Sylvan Lake Parking lot we had a long conversation with a recently retired couple from Minnesota about Covid. They were aghast no one was wearing masks. We nodded our heads in agreement. None of us were wearing masks. Our KOA neighbors (the ones with the flags) mostly sit in their RV. They are a family of four with two cute little girls who occasionally are sent out to sweep the ground of rocks. He does not always like to wear a shirt. Most of my neighbors here though seem apolitical and spend most of their time attending to or talking about their bikes. And that is what it is like hanging out in Custer at the beginning of Sturgis.

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