Bought our tickets to Europe, to walk the El Camino. We leave in 79 days! Deciding when to go, how long it will take to walk over 500 miles, and when to return, has taken some time. We still don’t have an exact itinerary, but with a leave date and return date, will help focus our planning.
I have purchased a new smaller backpack for the pilgrimage. In the next few weeks I will be loading up the equipment and taking it for a test hike. I am a little hesitant that it is the right one, because it is the female version of the Kestrel. When I used a Kestrel 48 on the AT back in 2013, I continually had sore shoulders, hence the purchase of the Opsrey Ariel 55 two weeks into the hike. We shall see.
The trail markers are different in each part of the trail, designating which governmental agency has care taking responsibility.
The designations are: South Dakota State Park, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Monument and National Park.
Here is a sample of each:
Bureau of Land Management
South Dakota State Park
Wind Cave National Park
US Forest Service
This gallery contains 5 photos.
We woke up at Dalton Lake Campground. Got a great start to the day. It was a strenuous hike up, we turned to the left and headed downhill. We questioned it, but saw trail markers, so kept going.
When we finally saw the campground we had just left, we knew we had gone wrong!!!!!
We hiked back up the mountain, with one of us swearing all the way, until the other one said, “I don’t want to hear that anymore”.
After noon we finally made it to Nemo, the town that my aunt JoAnn and Uncle Roger and cousins live near (like half-way between Dalton Lake and Nemo). We went into the store bought some lunch and drinks.
As we left town we walked on some roads before getting back to the trail.
August 22, 2012
I woke up this morning feeling so much better than yesterday. Dragonfly really saved me, and the trip. After packing up and eating breakfast, we crossed Highway 34 and made our way towards the Fort Meade National Cemetery. The grass was so dry. We saw a big rattlesnake in the distance and stayed away.
When we took a break this morning, I took a picture of Prairie Dog–who is happy to be back in her home surroundings.
The hike through the Fort Meade Recreation Area gave us a great view of Bear Butte. Mid-afternoon found us at the Alkali Creek Trail Head. I had spent the summer of 1979 here with the Youth Conservation Corp–bring up lots of wonderful memories. There was some water flowing in Alkali Creek so we got more water. Leaving there it was so hot! Not far from the trail head we saw a cattle trough full of water–not good enough to drink, but it was wet. So we took our shirts off, soaked them in the water and put them back on. They were dry within 15 minutes! We crossed under Interstate 90 and headed into the Black Hills.
We finally make camp. After dinner some mountain biker go by and we ask them if they can spare some water, one guy gives us a liter. One of the guys went to school with my brother David and works at the same Bentonite Plant that my dad used to work at-small world.
I am feeling stonger and know that the hike will be a success–if we can get enough water.
August 21, 2012
I got sick during the night! I am sure it was because I didn’t drink enough the day before. I tend to not drink enough and it has been my downfall on numerous occasions. Once we broke camp we then had to hike (or hitchhike) back to the Visitor’s Center to continue our through hike of the Centennial Trail. It was already hot and no one stopped to pick us up! I wanted to just start out from the campground but Dragonfly thought we should stick to the trail without missing any of it.
We walked through a pasture with buffalo, opening and closing some gates. By the time we reached the lake again I was wiped out. Still not drinking enough water. But by then, when you are already low on fluids, it is really hard to get ahead of it.
We kept going, but out on the open prairie with the sun beating down, I couldn’t go on. Dragonfly walked ahead, dropped her backpack, came back to carry my backpack and walk with me until we reached where she had dropped her backpack. We did this all afternoon across the prairie. Dragonfly promised me all sorts of things to encourage me, she has yet to fulfill some of those promises! She really was great in knowing what to do, keeping us both safe and moving. There was no cell phone service and no body was around, so we would have been in a real bind if she hadn’t gotten us through.
By early evening we finally came to Bear Butte Creek which was flowing and had a place to camp. Dragonfly set up camp and made dinner. I wasn’t much help. Because we were next to water, we knew we would be safe. We were yards away from Highway 34 and a mile from Fort Meade Military Hospital, so we knew we could get medical help.
As the sun went down, we went to bed. Tomorrow is another day.