First part is here


Today was the first nice enough day to actually run around a bit. I went up the back road that was previously too muddy to get to the place where the creek goes underground. I got farther, but I actually got stuck on the muddy road, so just parked (after a struggle) and walked the rest of the way. The sinkhole seems to be growing to me. There are trees fallen down from the side of the hill. The creek there is now a big pool. And indeed, even though the creek is still pretty high, the whole thing goes underground there.

Left, pool. Right, no creek!

The hillside is being eaten by the sinkhole

I then went and ate at Boondocks. As I was leaving I talked the the ATV couple that had stopped. The wife is related to Sarah, and they're staying at Mystic Mountain campground! So we talked shop for a while then parted ways.

I then went to the Butcher Gulch mine, set my odometer, and drove down to the Golden Crest road on the route I plan to take walking. 1.5 miles. I would have gone farther but it started looking dark and menacing.Both that road and the Golden Crest roads are essentially creeks now.


Had a nice trip to Denver. I stopped at the tornado site near Beaver Creek Campground near Four Corners, Wyoming. On the way back I stopped again. You can follow the tornado trail a couple of miles on the back road. The scary thing to me is that it went right alone a valley. I thought our cabins were safe from tornadoes, being in a valley, but nope. There was one place where trees had fallen in all directions, so I was guessing that might be where the tornado first touched down. Also, in about a 100 yard diameter there the trees were roughly laid down in a counterclockwise direction around that point. That was my guess, but it might be easy to figure out from a helicopter. I'll put up some video on youtube eventually.

The protest in Denver was fun. There were about 30 protesters and they had fun with parodying the Sea Org by wearing pirate outfits. I missed the flyering in downtown Denver, but the party after was fun.

It rained .2 inches last night. The lillacs are finally blooming and the poppies look about to bloom too. I ran into John who said the school fundraiser was well attended. Sorry I missed that.

most of the trees were pulled out by the roots.

I was going to go down this way but all the trees were parrallel and it was too difficult to keep walking over trunks.


Last night I won $28 on my favorite slot machine. So I figure I'm up by $18 so far.

Today was a really nice day so I went up behind Jeraldine's. That poor road is getting in worse and worse shape, but gets better the closer you come to Boulder Canyon. But then just before Boulder Canyon the road is washed out. I wasn't sure if I wanted to try crossing but eventually did and made it.

Then I went to the Two-Bit road to look at a way to walk to Deadwood. The one road I wanted to use is private property, so I looked around for another way. There's a lot of development going on back there. Anyway, from the development to Whistler Gulch looks right now like it will be boony bashing.

After a stop at the Boondocks I went to the road above Spring Run so I could check on the ice cave. I left a thermometer in it.

Then I was confronted with whether to cross the creek or go clear around. I finally got up the nerve and made it ok.

Now it's time to study for mid-term exam tomorrow. It's supposed to rain this afternoon so I won't be able to run around anyway.


I spent all day yesterday trying to take my first exam online, but the computer insisted I already took the test! So I get to make it up today, hopefully.

Went to town yesterday to do laundry, get some supplies, etc. Nothing too exciting.

Last night was a big thunderstorm with lots of rolling thunder. I love the sound of that so I recorded it, but not too successfully. I'll put up a bit once I convert the format. Had 1/2" rain in gauge this morning.

Today is take-the-exam day, mowing, and a trip into town to upload a video.


Had fun going to the get-together of people who'd gone to the UPC here long ago. About 40 people maybe met over the weekend. It was fun meeting all these people again and amazing we all got along since some are still pentecostals and others vehemently ex's. Now I have to catch up on my homework.

The creek has gone down remarkably fast and is about back to normal now

I went back to the sinkhole and it's still growing. There are more trees fallen in. The water has gone down about 6 feet in the pool, and there was a whirlpool where the water goes down that would make a fun sucking sound, so I videotaped that. It's on


Today Eric and I shoveled out the gravel behind Clark's to put back clean gravel so it will drain better. Eric might come back with some drainage pipe, and I bought some more pea gravel, so we'll probably work on that tomorrow, though there's supposed to be more rain tonight. The rain could actually help because it can wash the dirt out of the gravel for us.

I got back from Deadwood after putting up another video. The steaming tree is here and the whirlpool in the sinkhole is here. Just getting back to the cabins, a few deer ran across the road, and it appeared that one stayed on the cabin side. I parked at Gammy's, then heard a strange noise on the hill behind Clark's. Then the other deer darted across the road. I thought there must be something up on the hill scaring the deer, and wanted to see what the noise was. So I crept toward the back of Clark's and heard a deer snorting in a strange way. It sounded almost like a sneeze. I got up to the back fence and stopped. A deer was maybe 30 yards up the hill looking at me and snorting once in a while. It didn't move, so I thought maybe it was telling a fawn to lie still nearby. I sat down and waiting 15 minutes to see what the deer would do. It lay down right where it was. So maybe it had a fawn with it. I'll check in the morning and make sure it's not hurt or something.

Meanwhile, here's, FINALLY, a photo of a fawn. The mom and fawn were running, and slightly wobbling, up the road when I went into town. I only got one shot before they took off again. The fawn must be pretty young because it could just barely run.


Eric and I went to the mine near the school house. We went in but there are lots of pools of water blocking several of the tunnels and a stream goes through other tunnels, so there's not much to see. There was no equipment or anything inside. As we came out a bunch of boys came by that were exploring but they said they weren't going inside. We looked for other entrances but didn't find any.


Eric left early this morning. Yesterday we worked on the water problem behind Clark's and tore out the wooden steps to the outhouse. The foundational wood was pretty much rotted so the timing was good for that. Stone steps don't rot.

I'm going into town today to get a few more supplies for the drainage. Finals are Thursday so I have some time to work on the drainage. I hope to ride up to the top of the hill across from us and see if they've done anything other than logging. The weather's getting pretty nice now and the back roads are drying up finally.

Turkeys video here, and clouds video here.


got .1" of rain last night. I'm pretty much done with the drainage except now I need a bunch of river rock a certain size. I got some past Koppos but need to find another place. There seems to be a nice batch near Strawberry Creek. But weather permitting I'll tool around looking for a good supply. I hope to get to the sinkhole again and check that out.

It's been smoky the last 2 days from some Canadian fire. I can't smell the smoke but it's definitely hazy.

Just finished my final exam! Another "A." Next class starts Monday, with a professor I've already had and like.

I found a 2nd tick on me while talking to Chester. He was riding his bike down the road and stopped to chat. While we were talking I thought something was crawling up my leg and sure enough it was a tick. The first one was on my jacket sleeve.

Deadwood seems to have quite a good number of tourists. It looks better than last year to me, but that's just eyeballing. I'm even at the slot machine again, darn it.

Here's the french drain. First dig a V-shaped ditch, then put plastic over it. Stick perforated pipe at the bottom of the V. Put pea gravel along the pipe. Cover all with creek gravel. Hope it works.


Here's the lion tracks. It looks like his foot is as big as mine! Just for comparison, my shoe is about 4 3/8" wide just below the laces. Yikes! 8:15pm in front of Rosie's house. It was dark because of a storm coming in. The cat found it's way throught the fence, then jogged to the back of the cabin and stopped. I tried to get my camera ready but it walked behind the cabin before I could try to get a shot. I chose not to follow.

I looked all over for other tracks but didn't see any, so I'll go back in the morning. I estimate the mountain lion weighs about 120 pounds. Hope it doesn't like human flesh.


Went back yesterday but the best track had been stepped in by a rabbit or something so above is my best photo. Judging by my shoe, that's a 3 1/4 inch wide pawprint. I talked to Betty who lives right next to Rosie's. She said she saw one in the afternoon right outside her door. So everybody that lives in Galena seems to have seen a mountain lion in town at one time or another.

Not doing much. Just working on the steps, gravel, and homework. Kinda quiet.


I'm going to try to finish my class writing today so I can go to the tornado site tomorrow. There's supposedly no rain tomorrow. There was about 1/2" here yesterday.

I'm about 1/2 way done with the steps. The nice thing about using the stones is you can just replace one or move things around if you want since it's just dirt and rock. I might finish the gravel today too.

Not many ATVs going through town. It's pretty quiet here. I noticed that Staub must be feeding the animals too because when I went to town yesterday there were about 8 turkeys in his south lawn.

The new neighbors down the road dug a well and apparently it's artesian, according to Jeraldine. I haven't talked to them yet. The well driller said that's the first time he's come across that.

Vicious mountain lion...


Here's the rough version of the steps. They're about 12 inches wide and about 8 inches high, which makes them reasonably normal. I haven't finished the bottom yet, 'cause there's extra dirt and I wanna go to the tornado site today. I finished the gravel too except it could use a bit more just to cover the pipe I guess. There's more left over so I'll sift that and throw it in there. The sifting was what took so long.

I'm disappointed. I just got back from the tornado trip and found 5 ticks on me. It's normally one. So I hope there aren't others. I saw a photo of a tick where it was on the tip of a blade of grass with its arms extended, just waiting for something to come by that it could grab onto.

The tornado seems to have started just above the Beaver Creek Campground where I had been before, then headed over to road 110 and just followed that until it hit a gate for private property, then essentially quit. It looks to me like the trees snap or blow over from the suction, not the wind, at least along the edges, because they're aimed inward.. In the middle it could be the wind I guess.

I walked up the road near the Strawberry Hill truck ramp. It winds it's way to the top, where you can see Bear Butte and the house above the Golden Crest. The powerline goes along the road, which is part of my walking route to Deadwood.


I saw "Hellboy II" today and liked it. Just a fun flick. Did some shopping in Rapid and came home. As I was getting ready for bed I noticed a tick on my knee. It had bitten me so I don't know how long it had been there nor where it came from, since I just went to town and came back. No mark from where it was. I squeezed it with pliers and it came right off.

Last night at twilight I heard some strange wailing down the road. It was reasonably loud because I heard it from inside the cabin. I went outside and listened but only heard it once. It sounded like a cat does as it builds up for a fight and gets loud. So I'm thinking this might have been the mountain lion. I had the choice to go a ways past the creek in order to get away from the culvert noise and decided against it.


This has been an amazing year for watching wildlife. Partially, I assume, because Chester, John, and apparently Staub all feed the deer and turkeys. So I have lots of turkey and deer photos and videos. My bird feeder brings in all kinds of birds too, like bluejays, warblers, finches, crossbills, and whatnot. I caught this photo this morning of a bluejay mom feeding her kid.

I'm starting to learn what some of the many bluejay calls mean. When they make their prettiest call I know that a fight is about to happen.

This year has been big for deer, turkeys, groundhogs, herons, and chipmunks seem to be coming back some. There's a chipmunk living under Gammy's that's been there for about a month now. If I want to see a deer I pretty much just walk outside or walk up the road a little ways. I think I heard the mountain lion down the road one night, sounding like a regular cat about to start fighting. Otherwise I have no idea what that noise was. So anyway, lots of animals.

And plants too! These orange flowers are all over the hills, though never in a bunch. Just one or two here and there. I assume the extra moisture this year has really helped the flowers. Even in the yard here there are little flowers I've never seen before.


Back from pop's. Here's the new house...

And here's an old school house on the way home...


I forgot to mention there are a lot of ticks this year too. I've taken at least a dozen off me so far. Pretty much any time I walk through tall grass I seem to get one. Yesterday when I was undressing to take a shower I saw a small thing on my watch band and flicked it off. Curious as to what it was, I looked down at the concrete to see this tiny thing that looked like a tick. I squished it and it was very bloody. So apparently that was some micro-tick that had snacked on me.

It's been remarkably quiet out here as far as traffic. I rode up to the Two Bit road to figure out the next portion of my walking route. Amazingly, I wound up at the top the hill where I had walked from the truck ramp road! Now all I need to know is how to get to Whistler Gulch off that road and I'm ready to go. When I was up there two ATVs came up. It was two young teenage girls riding around. I told them sort of how to get to Golden Crest, since that's about teh only place with ruins still, then hiked on a side road looking for Whistler Gulch. As I was riding back down, they were coming back up, so I said they could follow me if they wanted and I'd show them Golden Crest. They were quite fast and fearless on their ATVs. When we got to the Golden Crest road I told them to go ahead and watch on their left. But then when I got up there I lost them.

The Days of '76 parade is Saturday so I hope to go to that.


I rode into Deadwood yesterday and tooled around just looking at back roads. Centennial Road goes up behind Irene's from the library in Deadwood. Then there's a gravel road I think called Starr road that goes up even from that. It's a horrible dirt road that got too steep and rocky so I walked up. It goes on and on apparently, to the top of that hill and beyond. There's lots of side roads that would be fun to investigate. You wind up higher than White Rocks.

Driving down Upper Main I saw in one yard a fake deer lying down looking out at the road. Just next to it was a real deer looking the same direction. And of course I didn't have my camera with me.

Rain off and on. Whenever there's a good thunderstorm the power goes out for about an hour.


The cows went up the road about 7am. I hear them bellering up a ways but nobody has chased them back down yet. I just shut my gate and let them do whatever they want.

There was a turkey eating seeds below the bird feeder this morning when I opened the door. When I came down the hill he was there again, and now that I'm inside he's back. It's amazing how jumpy birds are, even big turkeys. I think they spend half their energy just being nervous.

There's another strange thing on the road here. These kind of reddish crossbill birds congregate on the road, but they don't seem to get that you need to fly away when a car comes along. I hit at least one the first time I encountered this because I assumed they'd fly away. Nope. You have to slow way down because you have to be pretty close before they figure out they need to fly off. There are dead crossbills on lots of the gravel roads. I don't get this. I've never seen it before. Also, coming back from Deadwood one day I rounded a corner near the big culvert and there was a deer in the middle of the road just staring out into space. I got pretty close to it before it suddenly realized I was there and ran off. And also, I thought I had run over a snake near Marilyn's. It was a pretty big bull snake so I stopped to get a photo if it wasn't too smooshed. But it didn't seem to have been run over. I poked it to get it to get off the road, but it just sat there. It wasn't until I tried to pick it up with a stick that it finally slithered off in a quick fashion. So was he daydreaming too? Is there something on the road that hyptnotizes some animals?

I'm gonna go to the parade today and take pics. No idea where to park so I'll leave early. It's a 3-mile parade! So I assume they'll go by the grocery store? I'll try to park behind that.


Went into Sturgis via Lost Gulch. The swampy area at Lost Gulch seems to have the best splash of different flowers...

Sturgis is hopping with all the vendors setting up shop. Quite a few bikers already. I came back on the Lost Gulch road too. Right off Boulder Canyon road were some ATVers who had rented their ATV's. They thought if they could get to Galena they could find their way back, so I gave up my idea of checking out Camp 5 road and guided them back to Galena. I hope they find their way from there.

The bluejay kid actually went to the feeder himself today. It was kinda neat how the parents taught him that's where the food is. He'd be up in the tree above the feeder somewhere yelling for food. The mom or dad would go to the feeder and grab some seeds, then hop up to the kid and give him some. Then they'd wait quite a while before going and getting him some more. So he saw that's where the food was, and was probably ticked off waiting all the time for more food. So finally he probably just went screw this, I'm gonna go get some myself.


I went to Spearfish via Lost Gulch, thus saving lots of gas $. Coming back I decided to check out Camp 5 Road, which I consider the worst road in the Hills. I wasn't really planning to go all the way on it but I did. First time ever. I fell over once, and walked about 30 yards of it. Otherwise just a horrible experience that I won't do again. But I really like it back there, unfortunately.


I went back to the sinkhole site. The pool is dry. The waterfall is dry. The water all goes in now above the waterfall area. So it appears that the holes can only take in so much water at once, so if the creek is high, it goes clear over to the other side of the hole. It looks like a couple more trees fell in too. But I'll wait 'til next year to go back again.

Wild Bill's Campground is completely full now. But still not that many ATVs nor anybody else are coming down here. It's quieter than last year at least down here.


I walked to Deadwood yesterday on a wonderfully cool, partly cloudy day. It took me 3 hours and 20 minutes via Butcher Gulch and winding up in Whistler Gulch. I went through some private property as I couldn't seem to find a way around it as I was following the power lines from Two-Bit road. Then from the powerlines I booney-bashed down to Whistler Gulch and there I was in Deadwood! It being Taco Tuesday, I went to Taco John's on the trolley for nourishment, then walked back. I went around the south side of the private property and wound up at the top of Strawberry Hill, where I took photos of the mass of bikers going by. Then I walked Gilt Edge road and down Strawberry Creek. Surprisingly, Jeraldine showed up right when I got to Galena Road to check up on me, and my water ran out as we were talking. I walked the rest of the way though, stopping at Chester's to talk for a bit. Then a huge storm came over a couple of hours later, with a little bit of hail up to nickel size. This morning the rain gauge had 1.2 inches in it! On the news it said 2 people were hit by lightning at a campground east of Sturgis.

This morning my hips are a bit sore but otherwise I'm fine. I figure it was about a 13 mile hike. It's definitely not easy. Spruce Gulch would probably have been a bit easier, but it's private property now, and you wind up at the rodeo grounds, which is farther from downtown (and Taco John's).

So I think I've done everything on my list that I wanted to do this summer. I didn't finish going down Bear Butte Creek, but that's by choice. I was hiking down and it's so difficult going because of the high sides, thick brush, and dead fallen trees you have to crawl over or under that I just decided to call it a day. I was pretty far back there when I saw an orange sign on a tree high up on a cliff-like place. I barely managed to get up there and it was a mining claim posting. Across the creek from there was another mining claim posting on a tree that had cracked and fallen over. I took photos of them. I did a little panning above their claim and kept a little bottle of my results. I think there might be a flake of silver if that's possible in there, but not much else. Also there was an orange sized rock I was going to take for further inspection but then I forgot it.


An interesting day today. I finished my paper and turned it in, then went to Sturgis to take photos and such. I pretended I was on a Harley and drove around with everybody else. I looked very out of place, no doubt, but it was fun. There were some strange people there but in general it was a nice bunch of people.

I went up Boulder Canyon on the way back and turned off to the Lost Gulch road. As I was talking to some bikers camped out back there, about 4 forest fire trucks went by toward Lost Gulch. I bid my companions goodbye and followed. They turned left onto 567, which sort of makes a big loop before rejoining Lost Gulch Road. There was also a big tanker truck at that intersection. I went up Lost Gulch road and started seeing smoke where the Pillar Peak turnoff is. So I went up that hill and took some photos and video of the helicopter dropping water. It looked like a small fire. I then climbed to the top of the hill to try to call Jeraldine. I got their answering machine, then called Eric.

Back in Galena I called Chester to see what he knew, since he's a volunteer fireman. He said it was .8 acre and pretty much handled. Then he told me he saw a mountain lion around Ruby Gulch! I want to go back there but it's kinda scary. Then I went into Deadwood and hung out for a while, noting the license plates of the bikes. It seemed like Michigan was over represented for some reason. One the way back on Galena road I saw a raccoon walking along the edge of the road.

Oh, and the big rain the other night brought down a walking bridge. It made it all the way from the beginning of Galena down through the culvert here before it got stuck on a tree. That's about 8 tenths of a mile! Chester theorized that there was a pileup of water someplace upstream that then released all at once. This makes sense based on the height of the grass that was pushed over by the water along the stream bed. It looks like the water had to be about 2-3 feet above average!


got back to Phoenix about midnight. I spent the day playing tourist in Silverton Colorado. Took a gold mine tour and then toured the Mayflower mill, which closed down in 1991 and was donated as-is to the state historical society. It's a self-guided tour that's pretty cool. Picketed with the Denver anons Saturday and the Anonatron 9000 robot. It rained the entire time. Got 40.15 mpg on the trip home!

I was going to paint the thresholds before coming home, but they were in bad shape so I actually replaced both of Gammy's and painted Clark's and put a support under it so it won't break again if you step on it. But the support slighly lifted the threshold so I had to pound on it a bit to make space for the screen door to close properly. This couple-of-hours job turned into a 1 1/2 day job.