Saturday was a long drive across Minnesota and South Dakota. I was feeling tired from my bike ride and my knees were sore. But I didn’t feel too bad outside of some private grumbling over government funded highway signs marking the residence and the hometown of Senator John Thorne. If I didn’t already know he was an ass I would have figured it then.
Here is the campground. I had a little time after pitching my tent to play guitar and take this picture. A light rain in the middle of the night brought lower temperatures, which kept me awake part of the night despite me putting on layers, warm sweater and jacket inside my sleeping bag. It was rated at 30 degrees but I was cold at 40. Ah well.
The road up to Sylvan Lake at the North end of the park was spectacular.
I hiked up to the top of Black Elk Mountain, a popular route, with younger people passing me — a couple even jogging the route. The top is 7,242 feet, making it the highest point east of the Rockies. The stone lookout tower was built by the CCC in 1938 and was used for decades. They put a dam up there near the peak to make a little reservoir. Hikers with dogs were letting the latter enjoy the splash.

The hike was a bit much for me, with my 68-year old knees still not recovered from Friday’s bike ride. The whole thing was 6 miles round trip, with a 1,000 foot climb. I was glad to get to a motel in Newcastle, Wyoming just west of the park, poised for the long drive to western Montana.

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