Harney 7/6/05 trail #4July 21 2005 at 11:58 PM
|Avery Armes |
Response to Harney Peak, South Dakota (7,242 Feet)
My 2nd time up Harney in 2 years. We got a late start getting up and getting out of Rapid City early on, so we arrived to no available parking at Sylvan Lake or the trailheads. Remembering last year that trail #4 joins with a small parking area and a spur trail for Little Devils Tower just up the road, we found plenty of space there. Starting there also clips off about a half mile to the round trip, but it also puts you at the steepest pitches within the first mile.
The trail is mostly shaded and is marked with imprints on trees and signs occasionally. After about a mile and a half the rock outcroppings offer some spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, then again after the 2nd mile there are incredible views off to the right of Cathedral Spires.
The last section steepens a little but never becomes too bad. Once you reach the horse tie-up, you're practically there, just a few steps up and around and the CCC built fire lookout tower is right in front of you. A quick review of the tower and some pics and it was time for me to go find the USGS seal that eluded me last year. Some scrambling around on the rocks revealed the area that it should be in. Unfortunately it looks as if someone pryed the old seal off , as there is cement dumped in its place. There was some writing in the cement but wasn't very legible.
We left the summit and returned the same way we came up, on trail 4. I hiked trail 9 last year and was not impressed at all. Besides, hiking trail 4 back gave us the opportunity to get pics of the spires with both midday and evening sunlight. My 2nd time completing this highpoint, it may be a while before I get back to the Black Hills. Now on to the next highest state highpoint!!!