March 11, 2016- Spring was just around the corner, and here in the Black Hills we were experiencing a very nice break from the cold, and snow. Everything was turning green again, and the sun light felt warm on our skin. My dear friend, Kylie, and I were in the mood for adventure.
She arrived at my house as I was filling my old backpack full of snacks, and water. We went to pick up the boyfriend, Ethan, after that, and then met up with an old friend, Spencer, downtown. Spencer took the wheel in Kylie’s car, and we headed out of town, deeper into the Black Hills.
Just before arriving in Keystone (a small town at the foot of Mount Rushmore), Spencer pulled off to the side of the road. He wanted to show us something. We got out of the car, and he led us up the hill. We were walking on what used to be a road, but could no longer be used as one… it would be a very bumpy ride anyways. We walked quite a ways before turning, and heading away from the road. Eventually, we came across an old weathered building, we were exploring an old mine.
Ingersoll Mine was an amazing place to explore. We wandered inside, and sat in the shade to relax for a moment, before continuing to venture out the back door. We followed a trail up another hill to an opening of one of the actual mines. It was pitch black inside, but I was curious to follow Spencer into the cave, and see what was there.
We illuminated the tunnel with our phones. The tunnel took a 90 degree turn half way though, and we found light at the end. As we got closer to the light, the cave opened up in front of us. It was a huge stone room with a hole in the ceiling, letting the light in. The boys went to check out the other dark tunnels connected to the room, while Kylie and I felt more content just enjoying the big, well lit cave.
We came out of the mine to a beautiful view, and before heading back down to the car, we sat with a lady and her son, on the side of the hill, picking through the rocks and minerals, and chatting.
Back in the car, we headed through Keystone, and up towards Sylvan Lake. We parked at the Harney Peak Tail Head, and began walking the trail. We were looking for Poet’s Table, a Black Hills gem. We had only seen photos from people who had found it, and I wanted so badly to experience it in person. (It was actually one of my bucket list places.) If you live near the Black Hills, or if you have ever heard of Poet’s, then you know that there is no clear directions to get there, and no clear landmarks to find it. Basically, your best bet is to have someone who has been there already take you, or cross your fingers and hope you get lucky.
The only things we were told to look for were a birch tree, and a stump with a rock on it, and that would tell you were to turn off of the Harney Peak Trail. Well, there is birch trees everywhere in this area, so that wasn’t helpful, at all. We did happen upon a stump with a rock on it though and we made a decision to turn off the trail there and head left, up the hill because it was clear in the photos that poet’s was up high.
We walked for a long time trying to decide what to do next. We looked all over for something that matched anything in the photos, but we found nothing. We were all ready to give up, and head back to the car when Spencer spotted a doe up the hill, and started yelling at it. At first, we all just laughed it off, and let him yell. Then someone started yelling back, and it was coming from above us.
We followed their voices, and started climbing up the rocks until we got to the top of one, and sat down to take a brake. Spencer and Ethan where standing in front of Kylie and I, they started grinning, and pointed behind us. There it was, on a small ledge on the side of a rock. The green table and chairs surrounded by small treasures brought from others who came here before us. It was occupied by another group at the time, who were reading endless entries from the thousands of notebooks that filled the green cabinet next to the table, and writing their own entries to add to the collection. We waited until they left, and then we took over the spot.
It was amazing.
Where is your favorite place to adventure to? Or a Bucket List Location you want to see? Feel free to drop it in the comments!