18-Jun-2001 -- (continued from 45N103W)
Leaving Sturgis on US14 we passed through Deadwood and Lead as we climbed into Black Hills National Forest. Our next goal was 44N104W (pic #1) which the Atlas showed was about .2 miles from a dotted line “road” about 1 mile off FR117 (pic #2 & #4)). Not being familiar with this area, I wasn’t sure if the Forest Service roads were passable for our rental car, an Alero. Upon reaching O’Neil Pass we turned on FR231 and then FR117; both were well-groomed gravel roads through pine forests and ranchland. Along the way we passed the spot (pic #3) where the Christmas tree for the White House for 1955 was taken. After about 20 miles we came to the “dotted line” marked on the Atlas. It was another fine dirt road and we parked .2 of a mile from the point and walked up through the forest to 44-104. There is surprisingly very little underbrush in this area, so travel off road is easy (pic #6). We were back to the car by 3 pm and headed south down FR117 which dipped into Wyoming before joining US16, allowing John to visit another state he’d never been to. We then headed east on US16 to Mt. Rushmore. After a brief stop at the monument we drove to Harney Peak and did the 3-hour speed climb of the tallest point in South Dakota, 7242 feet.
(continued to 44N103W)