A ‘peak’ at what they see

This week I decided to climb Harney Peak which I have never done before. This peak is the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains. At the base of the peak is Sylvan Lake, in Custer State Park. We (my younger sister, our dog, Sheridan, and I) passed a picnic area where we would later eat lunch on our way to the bottom of the peak from the parking lot.

At the beginning of the hike is a bench with an inspirational quote about journeys, probably mean to inspire hikers to reach the top. The path up is gravel surrounded by a meadow at first. Soon the meadow turns into a tree-invested forest, the picture-perfect place for a moose according to my mother. We took a break after that space near a rocky area where the top of the peak is visible. we continued along a ridge into another forest which is , surprisingly, down hill. This part lasted for awhile. we crossed a creek using the small walk bridge (and our puppy gulped up some of the rushing rapids). Next was this huge rock my family dubbed “The Warped Wall”due to its shape and our obsession with the television show ‘America Ninja Warrior’. Most other people probably just refer to this as a boulder, but, hey, we all have our quirks.

Anyway, after you pass through the forest there is a drastic change as the path becomes surrounded by dead trees and fallen branches. There are stone steps to guide you around the bends and turns as you continue to the top. Soon there is an opt-out for the weak, aka a path back to the lake. But my sister and I carried on up to the top where there is a lookout. The lookout has multiple levels with ladders to get to the highest level to take in the varieties of scenery. The entire platform and tower are constructed out of stones, just like the steps from before. The way down, as you could probably guess, was pretty much the same thing in reverse, except the bottom included lunch. Stale chips and dry PB&Js never tasted so good.

As I was taking in all these new sights, I realized every vacationer and tacky tourist see the entire Black Hills this way and I can’t wait to see some more!

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8 thoughts on “A ‘peak’ at what they see

  1. This was a great post! I really liked the end part about the tourist feel. That is the exact same way I am when I get to go hiking. These views are all new to me and my boyfriend laughs at me because I am so in awe with it. Cant wait to hear more from you!

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  2. I LOVE Harney Peak! The middle school where I grew up takes the whole 8th grade class up there every year to hike it! One of my all time favorites! When I went up there the first time there had just been a major storm! There were so many downed trees and everything was super muddy. Because of all the broken trees, the path was covered so we did a lot of “off-roading.” By the time we all got to the top, we were so amazed with the tower. I like to think of it as a castle. 🙂 I really liked your comment about that being your best “stale chips and dry PB&Js.” We got hard, crunchy granola bars when we got to the top. We all still joke that those were the best granola bars we ever had! I’m glad you enjoyed your experience!

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  3. Mary Ann,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog post! You were very descriptive and I could see your puppy gulping down the water. I’ve never been there before, and sadly, never heard of it before either. It looks like an interesting place and it sounds like a lot of fun!
    Nancy

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  4. We’ve been thinking about hiking Harney Peak this summer too–so glad to read your post! I would have to opt out of the ladders. Heights give me vertigo! Actually, the opt out path back to the lake sounds pretty darned good to me!

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