Highpoint: White Butte
State: North Dakota
Height: 3506 ft.
Highpoint #: 30
Date: 5/19/2003
Trails: N/A
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Vertical Gain: 500 feet
Time Taken: 1.5 hours
Weather: cool, 50's
Group: JO, BC, Jay and Rick
Comments: We drove clear across South Dakota, and then north into North Dakota. At about 8:30 in the morning, we reached the Van Daele's house right in front of White Butte. JO went and talked to Mrs. Van Daele, and she asked $20 for us to cross her land, which we gladly paid. We drove down the dirt road as far as we could before it became too muddy, and we decided to hike the rest of the way to the base of the hill. The hill itself seems to consist entirely of mud and is a bright beige-white. It was especially muddy that day. The round trip distance is about 2 miles which is all fairly easy except for one section that is steep enough to make the going rather trecherous. The mud would slip right out from under your feet if you weren't very careful. Once over this short section, the hike levels out and grass is present. The top offered impressive views of the surrounding countryside which was all very flat. There were a few other hills of mud in the distance and others nearby connected to the main hill. On the way down we found a slightly easier way around the slippery section. When we got back to the car we spent a good 30 minutes trying to get all the mud off our boots. The mud was caked on the entire sole and had the consistency of wet cement. Fortunately, we had some plastic bags to put our boots in since there was no way we could get the mud off without a fire hydrant.

Left:  Rick and Jay on the trail towards White Butte.  Right:  The view from halfway up White Butte back towards the Van Daele’s farmhouse, which is barely visible.

Left:  Jay triumphant at the summit.  Right:  BC “doing your face” on the top of North Dakota.  If you don’t get that reference, see Josie and the Pussycats.

Highpoint: Harney Peak
State: South Dakota
Height: 7242 ft.
Highpoint #: 31
Date: 5/19/2003
Trails: Trail #9 (Harney Peak Trail)
Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
Vertical Gain: 1500 feet
Time Taken: 4 hours
Weather: sunny, breezy, 60's
Group: JO, BC, Jay and Rick
Comments: After leaving White Butte, we backtracked into South Dakota, and continued on to the Black Hills area near Custer, SD. We arrived at Sylvan Lake, which is the trailhead to Harney Peak, at about 2 pm. Although BC had some reservations about starting the hike so late, we set off for our first 7000+-foot peak. The hike up is very scenic and is very gradual except for a portion at the end of the hike. Jay and Rick set out first and BC and JO brought up the rear. The views from the top are spectacular and you really get a sense of the landscape of the Black Hills. Jay and Rick were climbing around on some of the rock pillars at the top and were hanging out on top of a nearby pillar that they had climbed up. We really didn't feel the altitude even though it was the highest we had ever been. This was one of our favorite peaks on this trip.

Left:  The summit coming into view about a mile into the hike.  The tower is barely visible to the right of center.  Right: Jay and Rick on top of a pillar they climbed near the summit.

Left and Right:  JO and BC on the steps of the summit tower of Harney Peak.  At 7,242 feet, the highest either of us had been to this point.

After getting back to the car, we drove into Custer, SD and stayed at a hotel for the night.

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