Monday, August 17, 2015

Can't get high enough

I've been doing a lot of rock climbing.  I can spend half a day scouting out a big spire or stack and then finding a way up it.

I'm not using any technical equipment.  I just hike into the forest and find a beauty.  No ropes, no gloves- just climb up.  Most of what I find is craggy enough for good hand holds and steps.  A lot of it has exposed veins of quartz.  Those are the best climbers!

Of course I'm careful.  I'm as careful as when I ride my mountain bike.  In fact, a good climb takes me to the same place as a good bit of singletrack.  Hanging on to the edge of the rock, concentrating on hands, feet, and balance is just like hanging onto a handlebar ripping through singletrack.  It requires so much focus that everything else disappears.  It's Mind-Body-Soul therapy.

Getting to the top is the goal, but it's the trip up that makes it worth it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The wildflowers are loving this wet spring and summer.  I rode into The Hills this morning from Alkali Creek again and I found an old logging road and decided to follow it.  What I found was a high meadow covered with wild flowers!

I spent a good while up there running my hands lightly across the tall grasses and enjoying the smells.

Just me and the bumblebees, a few chipmunks, and a box elder.

Monday, July 20, 2015

What goes up...

Two-two rides in one!  The Centennial Trail starting at Alkali Creek is one of my favorite places on Earth.  The trailhead is in the valley where the Black Hills meet the prairie.  From there, it goes up into The Hills for a couple thousand feet.  A lot of folks just ride up Bulldog and back down, but going past Bulldog another 5-10 miles is the best part of the trail!  Yes, it's a hell of a climb.

It's like two rides.  1 1/2 hours of climbing, then you turn around and point back downhill.  From the high mountain meadow it's an absolute shred-fest for a good 30 minutes straight!  Ground missile.  Hang on, keep your tongue inside your mouth, and the tears out of your eyes.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


I've been scratching down song ideas for a long time in a little book called "Daniel's Book of Bright Ideas".  They are mostly quips.  Jingles.  Fragments of ideas put to whimsical music in my head.  Like the "Cubic Prismatic Pseudo-Holographic" song or the "Jesus, Can you Come Down Here?" song.  Anyway.... whilst perusing the annuls of Dan's retardedness, I came across a few jems that may give a few of you a chuckle:

Peace and love.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Will & Kate

No, not the situational comedy.  My friends from Kansas City!  Will and Kate stopped by on their way to Glacier National Park.

We did a nice little hike in the Black Elk in the morning and had lunch at the Bumpin' Buffalo in Hill City before they had to tavel on.

Then I loaded up the MTB and headed to Storm Mountain.

Good Great day.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Underwood Gran Fondo

I did the closest thing to a road race I've done in a long time today.  I signed a waiver.  I wrote my team name on the registration.  I got a number.  I rode in a pack.  The New Underwood Gran Fondo was kind of a race but not really.  I live in the Black Hills- the beautiful Black Hills with forests and canyons and all that.  So, driving out onto the prairie to do this ride was a little strange.  It started and ended in this little prairie town.

The scene was just like riding around my old home in Kansas- endless rolling green grasslands and a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.  It was a ride I'll do again whenever I want to reminisce about the Flint Hills of Kansas.

It was 52 miles in length and I rode hard the first half and even followed a dude on a flyer.  Then I sat up and enjoyed the scenery for the second half.

I saw prairie chickens and a rattlesnake.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pactola paddle

When I found out I was moving here, one of the top things on my list to do was to get out on Pactola on my kayak.  I did it today.

I thought it would be great but it made me sad b/c it made me miss my friends.

I don't mind cycling by myself.  But kayaking is something I see as a social activity.  I guess that's what threw me off.  How can I describe it?... It's like drinking a Coke without rum.  It's fine but it doesn't seem right.

Anyway, it was a good day out.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Batch #1

Looks good!

I have work to do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Further up and further in"

That's C. S. Lewis.  It's from the end of The Last Battle where the children and the talking animals go to heaven because they seek it out and go to it.

Popular belief is that, at some point, we step through a doorway.  But could it be that we're here to collect the pieces?  Could Heaven be the sound of falling snow and a thousand other things all put together just right?

I believe heaven is a place you find when you seek it out.  It takes concentration and determination but it's there if you have the strength to find it.

Sometimes it seems shrouded like in a fog in front of me- like something I can only slightly see more clearly if I don't look directly at it.

I haven't found it but I'm a lot closer.  I keep looking under rocks and behind trees.

It's not always there, but sometimes it is.  The seeking out is what's important.

And when I do find a little piece I get a little further up and little further in.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ahh... Spring!

Today I shoveled the walk before I got called into work.

I'm told this is normal weather for the Hills.  I believe it.  I was up here last June and it snowed on me in the Northern Hills.

Still, it is the "Banana Belt of the Midwest".  Wait... what?  I think that is a running joke I'm now becoming privy to.  No matter, I'll take it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Day of Adventures

My good friend Brian came up for a visit and we had a fine day out.  He's from Asheville, N.C. so it was not going to be easy to impress him with our little hills up here.  Well, I'm happy to report that he had a big grin most of the day.

We played in Black Elk most of the morning and into the afternoon.  We did a lot of free-climbing and just played on all the rocks.  I remember hearing- and saying- "Oh! let's go up there!" more than a few times.

It was overcast all day which meant no shadows, but we kept Harney in site the whole time and managed to not get ourselves lost.

And then we went 4-wheelin'.  ...and did some trail clearing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Misty Mountain Hop

It was raining today so I went for a hike.  Those who know me well know why I prefer to hike in the rain.  It was beautiful today.  Started out drizzling, then let up to a sprinkle, then mist, and finally it was just cloudy.

I hiked the Flume Trail from the Sheridan Lake trailhead.  The trail follows the path of the old flume constructed in 1880 in order to get water down to Rockerville for placer gold mining.

The flume itself is long gone- the trail is set on the old flume bed.  It makes for a nearly level gradual decent of 1100 feet over 11 miles from the water source down to wear the placer mines were.  It's an impressive engineering feat.

I did a short 3 mile loop today and explored a couple of rock mounds.  I'd like to walk the whole thing down to Rockerville.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


I spent a lot of time in the Horsethief Lake area this weekend.  The lake itself is just a little tarn, so it's of little interest.  But it's located halfway between Mt. Rushmore and Harney Peak right in the middle of some spectacular surface geology.

I hiked the area- on and off trails- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and got a real good feel for it.  There are several small caves in the rock walls and I think a hike-in camp trip is in order.  I found a way up to the top of a couple of the spires and the view on the top is... uh... nice.

It rained all day Saturday.  I love hiking in the rain.  A lot of the things on this planet are at their best when they're soaking wet.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Carl the Audiophile

I backed off the 2 thousand dollar sound system.  It would've been completely fantastic but in a bow to sensibility I visited craigslist this morning and found that Carl in Newell had a few items to sell.

Having now met Carl, if I was filthy rich and I was building some dream estate in some exotic place, I'd hire Carl to come build my sound system.  Dude is truly an audiophile.

I rode 89 from Alkali this morning and then called Carl and woke him up at 1:30. He said he was hung over as hell but to come on by and he'd show me what he had.

Long story short... and IT IS a long story... I got a quadraphonic system from Carl for 1/10 of what I was going to spend.

(Pre-Carl:  Who needs it?!)

(Post-Carl:  YES!!)

Saturday, April 11, 2015


When I left KC, I stuffed everything I could into a U-haul trailer and the rest I gave away, left behind, or threw away.  One of the things that wouldn't fit was my stereo system.  It was aging anyway and clothes and bikes took priority.  So, I've been getting by with a old laptop, an even older Pioneer reciever with only half a channel (only one speaker works) and a small radio shack shelf speaker.

Enough.  I am literally surrounded by dogs in my neighborhood that bark incessantly.  I've tried to talk to the owners (b/c it's an owner problem, not a dog problem) but no satisfaction.  So today I went to the Sound Pro stereo store and explained to Eddie my problem.

Oh sweet Jesus in Heaven have mercy upon me b/c if I'd have been wearing clothes in there the system he showed me would've blown them off!  Yamaha amp, Klipsch 4ft. towers, and a big ass sub box.  He said, " two grand".  I said, "sold".  Problem solved.

I don't poke, I pound.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Back of the Pack"

This nugget appeared in the Des Moines Register newspaper one day in July a few years ago.  Thanks to the Yella Dog for digging it up.

That was one solid chapter.

Crack - A -Nooooooooon!!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Colin Furze

I really like this guy.  He may not be Woody Woodpecker, but he's certainly got the spirit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Shadow Bombing

What a crazy couple of months it's been living up here in the Hills.  I can't believe I'm leaving this place already but I got a job offer in Canada and I'm going!

April Fool's!  Haha.  Actually, it got up to 80 here the other day and I was thinking that's getting a little warm for my blood.  But I wouldn't entertain any offers to leave this place.

A girl at work sent me this photo.  I always park my bike in the same spot and she comes to work about an hour after me when the sun is up and she said she sees this cool shadow image every morning.

Nice photo, I think.  That's the ol' Blue Bomber.  Still doing it and doing it hard!

BTW, I can't get enough of Arctic Monkeys just now.  And speaking of great music... Hairball is playing the Mountain Grand in Deadwood on Friday the 13th in November.  If you're reading this, consider it an invitation to join me.