The Sioux Lakota Native Americans know it as a wazipan – a place where a person can visit and later leave completely fulfilled both physically and spiritually. It is a challenging 3.5 mile hike (seven miles roundtrip) with 1,100 feet in elevation gain into a wilderness area of the Black Hills Brad Saum hiking the trail to Black Elk Peak.[/caption] National Forest in western South Dakota to reach Black Elk Peak.
Black Elk Peak, formerly known as Harney Peak, has both intrigued and rejuvenated me since my first hike to the summit over thirty years ago. With a high pressure system squarely over the Black Hills, the weather was ideal and the view was as spectacular as ever.
The hike provided me an opportunity to reflect on this path of living and traveling full time in my RV, as well as the many possibilities that lie ahead. Physical exertion through the sweet smell of the Ponderosa pine trees and meandering up, down, over and around the granite that forms the basis of the Black Hills, makes the summit at 7,242 feet even more rewarding.
“When you find your passion, it’s yours. Not what someone else thinks it should be”
– Dr. Condoleezza Rice, American political scientist and diplomat
My curiosity of the highest point in the Black Hills, just four miles (as the crow flies) from Mount Rushmore National Monument, resulted in writing Black Elk Peak: A History, published by The History Press and available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. I also manage a website sharing information about Black Elk Peak. My author page on Amazon also links to my other book about Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains.
I am excited to share my knowledge and appreciation of Black Elk Peak with others next week – and promote my book! First, I am being interviewed live by Lori Walsh, host of the radio program “In the Moment” airing on South Dakota Public Radio. I’ll post a link next week if you are interested in listening to the recorded show.
And secondly, I am presenting a one-hour Learning Forum at The Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City, South Dakota, followed by a book signing. I will be sharing unique and curious facts about the history of Black Elk Peak illustrated with my photos and video. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunities presented, and I aim to chase them even as they require effort and push the edges of my comfort zone.
Some prep is certainly underway to ensure quality speaking engagements, but I am in the Black Hills. Therefore, I will be out and about absorbing my favorite part of the country. And, there’s the fact I am living full-time in my RV, so there’s a little of the mundane normal life stuff like grocery shopping, cleaning, maintenance, and organizing that needs to be accomplished while I have a chance and am settled in one location for the next week.