One of our goals this year is to hike on trails we haven't explored yet. Actually, that could be our goal for the next ten years - there are a lot of places within a short drive that we haven't been to yet!
Ever since spring arrived, we've been packing a picnic lunch, sticking the cooler in the truck, and heading up into the Hills at least once a week.
A few weeks ago, we chose a trail in the northern Black Hills, in the Mystic area.
|Lovely, isn't it?|
We parked at the parking area along Mystic Road and headed up the trail.
It was a beautiful day in May, and the trail was easy to follow...
...as long as we could see the trail markers. That's our trail - number 40. There are also deer tracks on the signs in case we forgot the number.
Our trail followed the Mickelson Trail for a quarter-mile or so. The Mickelson is a Rails to Trails project. It is 109 miles long and extends through the length of the Black Hills. Bicyclists, hikers, and horseback riders are allowed to use the trail. No motorized vehicles, which makes the hike pleasant.
And yes, just like the railroad, you get to go through tunnels and over trestles!
Before long though, we found our turn-off.
You can tell we've gotten a lot of rain this spring!
And I found a patch of my favorite spring flowers - Shooting Stars!
|Do you see them nestled along that bit of rock?|
This part of the Hills was the home of gold mines and prospectors 125 years ago...and today Mystic is nearly a ghost town.
This area's rocks are very different from the granite around Mt. Rushmore!
After an hour, we headed back toward our truck, but we'll be back on the hiking trails soon. The mountains call with a siren's song.
Next week, I'll take you to a place that is so different from the Mystic area that you'll think we've gone to another planet!
Until then, where are your favorite places to explore?
Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.
You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan Drexler.com.