The morning after Neutrino Day, I woke up to super dense fog and mist. The forest was lovely in the fog and I stopped frequently for photos.
At this point I was feeling pretty done with South Dakota, but before I left the Black Hills behind, I wanted to see nearby Spearfish Canyon.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright declared Spearfish Canyon the most magnificent he’d seen; and yes, he’d been to the Grand Canyon. If he was that impressed, it should be well worth a look.
The long canyon has several popular hikes down to the many waterfalls that are scattered throughout.
I hiked the 1.5 mile roundtrip Spearfish Falls Trail down to one of the many waterfalls. The highlight for me was spotting an American Dipper and watching it for a while as it hopped around on a log in the creek.
According to an informational sign, the waterfall feeds Spearfish Creek, which provides accessible water for wildlife year round, even during the winter. Due to its rapid flow, Spearfish Creek freezes from the bottom up instead of the top down.
Several miles farther up the canyon, I also hiked the much shorter but steeper trail to Bridal Veil Falls. This involved minor rock climbing, or rather scrambling, and crossing a shallow but wide, rapidly running stream. I took off my shoes so they wouldn’t be wet for hours, as did some other river crossers, and braved the water barefoot. It was coooold, cold, cold, cold, cold!
My reward for turning my feet into two blocks of ice:
The waterfall was beautiful, but I was more interested in the rocks off to the side. What made that jutting, geometrically shaped black coloration?
These aren’t fire marks, which would have been curved around the edges and irregular in intensity. Is it somehow part of the rock itself? But how?
There is much more to Spearfish Canyon, but I was eager to move on so skipped some of the best sights. Perhaps that leaves me in no position to judge Frank Lloyd Wright’s assertion, so I will just make this one observation. Spearfish Canyon lacks the sheer scale of the Grand Canyon, though I’ve never found the beauty of the desert to be personally appealing and definitely appreciate the greenery and teeming life here. Come judge for yourself. And spend more than a day here.