Western Adventure, Day VIII – South Dakota at Needles and Mystic



Since this was our last day in SD, we decided to go to Needles in Custer State Park and then rock hound at the location the rock shop in Keystone had suggested we go. In the morning, Mike and the kids took a small break in the morning for Zachary to play with his RC monster truck. While the two of them were doing that. Nathan and Briana found some friends… a couple of horses.

Needles is renowned for some of the best climbing in the nation. Mike told me it’s a climber’s paradise in the Black Hills. The drive up to the top was a narrow road full of skinny tunnels carved out of the granite hillsides. At the top of the Needles pass, the kids and Mike had a great time climbing around on the rocks. A local climber was quick to come over and state Briana needed to be harnessed up. He went back to his car to see if he had a harness her size. Unfortunately, he didn’t. He had planned, of course with our permission, to scale the wall, hook up and let her climb to her content. He made sure to tell me to get her geared up and climbing. He liked her enthusiasm and desire to climb.

Mike used to climb before we met. I’m not much for heights, or better yet for the idea of hitting the ground. He did find good climbers in the kids. Maybe he can gear them up and take them up to Unicorn by Mt Rainier. I will take care of the lunch and take photos. The area was spectacular with all the granite needles and spires that abounded the landscape.

My favorite part of the day was the drive back down. Wahoo! What a blast! Highly recommended. The Peter Norbeck roadway is a must drive for anyone who loves to wind up and down narrow roadways. I had so much fun. If I had known about that road earlier in the week, we would’ve drove it a few more times.

From the Peter Norbeck Road, we headed up a small road toward a town called Mystic. We were told there was a mine with huge sludge piles full of rocks to collect. Sadly, we were led astray. It was a neat area, but no rocks. About two miles up, we came to a gate. The car in front of us had gotten through. Darn! Why not us? Then Mike came up with a brilliant idea. He had recognized he gate mechanism as the same on his mom’s gate. Since we had her remote, we pressed the button and wala! the gate opened.

We thought for sure we would find the sludge piles, but no, all we found were a bunch of vacation homes and a creek. Poo! But at least we won’t wonder what we might have missed if we didn’t get through the gate. Word to the wise, make sure you reprogram your gate to a special code if you don’t want the Zimmers coming through. Ha!

We made it back to town late, but early enough to have a nice dinner at Desperados. We got to hear about a few ghost stories and a few places to visit the next time we come back. And come back to SD, we will!

Click on any image to enlarge. Or better yet… click on the first photo and scroll through them all.

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