Today we rode 92 miles from Lusk to Hot Springs, South Dakota. In another state! I don’t think I have ever been to South Dakota (though I have never been to Wyoming either). Being in South Dakota “sounds” more like the center of the country. The day was much like yesterday, the first 45 miles super easy as we headed northeast, then as we turned straight due east the headwinds were there. And we started to hit the “Black Hills”of SD. The name “Black Hills” is a translation of the Lakota (Indian) “Pahá Sápa”. The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance–they are covered in pine trees, whereas the hills of eastern Wyoming are simply covered in grass (burned out brown grass). We have started to do some climbing again, and the climb at mile 88 that was about 2 miles and a 5-8% grade was a rude awakening.
Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. In 1868, the U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty, exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement “forever”. But gold was discovered there in 1874, during an expedition of Black Hills by George Custer. Miners swept into the area in a gold rush, and the US government re-assigned the Lakota tribe, against their wishes, to other reservations in South Dakota. How’s that for “forever?”