Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trips Not Taken: The Black Hills

Don't know about now, but 30 years ago there was a square dance every Saturday night at the Rochford saloon.




Back in the land before time, we used to go camping in the Black Hills with Margadant and his then wife Lee. How long ago was it?  I do not know for certain, the time gets fuzzy and the years run together.  I do know that Lee eventually couldn't take it anymore and ended their relationship. She had a good lawyer - Jim. He took the honorable way out and chose to fall on his sword. Eventually Jim married Brenda and they have been together long enough to raise and fledge three children of their own. (I suppose that's where "full-fledged" comes from, eh?) The Margadant kids are full-fledged adults now. It has to have been a long time ago.

Can't read the population. Maybe 25?
This is not the Black Hills of Mount Rushmore and tourist attractions. This is the backside. The Hills are beautiful, and as a local, Jim knew where to go. We pitched camp in the vicinity of Black Fox, near (9 mi) the unincorporated village of Rochford. We had a spring for water, trout streams, beaver ponds and hills covered with flowers, and potential firewood all within a short hike. Our camping was basic, low-tech, ours a canvas cabin tent, Margadant's a blue pickup backed up near a tree to tie the rope which supported a tarp with rocks tied to the corners. It all worked well enough. (Aside: James, I do not want to know if this has all become concrete, asphalt and neon. The photo of Rochford showed up on the Google Map.  At least Rochford hasn't changed much.  Except the rows of found hubcaps on the side of the building have been either sold or stolen.)

Why this memory now? Jim send me a link for the Mickelson bike trail which passes through the area. It's a 109 miles of packed gravel, perfect for a light camper like my Peter Mooney or the yet unborn Chris Kvale. The gradients are moderate. 218 miles on hard gravel. I figure a nice comfortable week with side trips and time off here and there. Maybe some day.


5 comments:

Silk Hope said...

when do we go?

Gunnar Berg said...

You're quick. I hadn't even proof read and tweaked the copy.

Silk Hope said...

I love crushed rock trails. Brings out my inner Paris Roubaix.

Mimbres Man said...

My Litespeed is ready to go.

Debb said...

I spent the entire summer of '72 living in a tee pee near the town of Custer. I think that is considered "back side" too. It was magical. Maybe Laurie and I should go back with bikes? You may have created a vacation inspiration, Gunnar!
Debb