2009 Great Adventure, July on. First part here. Part 3 here


Ticks again. I find them once in a while, on the back of my leg, crawling on my arm. I always wonder if there is one I don't catch, and have phantom bugs crawling on me that I have to check out. I burn them when I find them.

I gave the non-ghost cemetery photos to the lady that told me about Preston. My photos had no ghosts.

Nothing much happening. Just job hunting, cleaning, biking a little.


I went to Rapid because it was going to rain, and saw "Public Enemies." Very good. Coming back past Pactola Lake there were actual drifts of small hail along the road to the north of the lake. Then farther along there was ground fog and more drifts. When I got back Eric had been here but I don't know where he is now.

This morning I tried the metal detector in the yard again, this time on the lowest sensitivity. I found a few cans, a horseshoe, and a strap that I think is used to hold cables. No gold yet.

Meanwhile, here's a deer and some turkeys.


Eric is here, and I'm recovering from eating a whole can of cashews. We went up to the top of the hill across the creek and explored some mines. Eric happened to have his head lamp so he went back into a few of them. On the way to Deadwood later about 4 turkeys flew over us from one side of the highway to the other.

Lots of ATVs and jeeps today. The campgrounds all appear to be full. Reasonably nice weather today.


Today I was planning to read a book Jeraldine loaned me, so I thought to set up my information table in front of the cabin again and read there. Only a few people stopped. One was looking for the cemetery, one was looking for an old CCC camp he only knew was somewhere in the Hills, and one just stopped to chat. It was much quieter today traffic wise than yesterday.

Eric mentioned there was a Cadillac up near Perly's, so we went up to look again. It seemed to be in operable condition and was intentaionlly parked just off the road, but how the driver managed to get there on such bad roads was amazing to me. I'm going to check on it tomorrow and call the sheriff if it's still there. It could be somebody camping over the holiday weekend, who knows.

Here's a pic from yesterday's caving. You can see they were following a vein pretty far back. Eric figured it was over 100 feet back to the end of the mine. I could no longer hear him at any rate.


Mother and Janet are here. Today we coincidentally chose to go to Mt. Rushmore the same day as Greenpeace decided to unfurl a banner over Lincoln's left cheek. We came after the banner had already been removed, but while we were sitting down by the rubble pile, along came several marshals carrying the banner in a roll. So I got that on videotape.

We went through Needles Highway, ate in Keystone, and then ate in Spearfish Canyon for supper. A good day.


Today we mostly hung out in Galena. We went to the cemetery and schoolhouse. We ate at the Mystic Campground, since relatives run it. Then we ate at Stamp Mill with Jeraldine and John. After we watched grandpa's old movies on Eric's computer. Another good day.

Oh, I drove my bike up to the mine above and past the Sitting Bull with the walkie talkie. I called down to Janet when I was ready, and beeped my horn several times. I did this a few times, but they could never hear me. At least we learned that the walkie talkies work pretty well. They even worked from Koppos.


Mother and Janet left today and got back home fine. Eric and I went up to Caronate (we think) up the Cleopatra road, then we parked at the bottom and walked up to the Devil's Bathtub. That's a pretty place on Squaw Creek that has nice pools in a cliff-like setting. Very pretty, but hard to climb up to. We had supper at Pizza Lab and came home.


Yesterday we went into town in separate vehicles. I went to Taco John's with Eric (soft shell deal today). Then I went up the Cutting Mine Road, from Central City. It goes up about 3 miles on a reasonably ok dirt road, though it was muddy from the day before's .8" of rain (it rained at night). There is a development back there with signs showing the shape of each 5-to-8 acre property. Nobody has built up there yet. There were signs all over saying no ATVs, no motorcycles, and no 4X4's when it's wet and muddy. There were a few side roads that looked interesting to explore.

Then I went downtown and lost $10 on slot machines. Eric called and was at Mt. Moriah, so we walked from there up to White Rocks for the first time since we were kids. It's a spectacular view from up there, where you can see Bear Butte, Terry Peak, much of Deadwood, and farther.

This morning I went up to the outhouse and watched two turkeys on the railroad bed on Clark's side. They were trying to find a way through the fence up the hill, where another turkey was calling them. I watched about 10 minutes as they kept trying the same places over and over. I went down and got my video camera and taped them for a while, then I went down and knocked on Eric's door to tell him. They were STILL trying to find a way through the same fence, so I assume from this that turkeys are not very smart.

We explored a couple of mines this morning...


This morning there was 1" of rain in the gauge. I had already emptied out the .5" from yesterday. There was a tornado in Wyoming last night, hail someplace, and Vermillion got over 5" of rain.

I'm starting to look for work in earnest now that everybody is done visiting and I've done most of what I planned to do here. Slim pickings so far.


Applying for several jobs.

Toyota group going through at the moment.

Robins seem to love chokecherries. The branches are too weak for their weight, but they keep trying, which looks pretty weird.


Yesterday on the news was a story about a guy camping near Sundance, WY. A mountain lion appeared, threatening him. So he grabbed the chain saw he'd been using to cut firewood. The lion attacked. The guy gouged the lion. The lion retreated. Forest Service guys came to investigate and shot the lion. It weighed about 100 pounds but appeared to be severely underweight.

So here's a very rare case of a mountain lion attacking that must have either been a really lousy hunter or was just desperate for food for some reason. I think the lions around here have so much food available to them that humans aren't even on the bottom of their list.

Today I drove up to what I think is Dome Mountain, north of Perley's. You have to hike up a steep hill toward a cliff to get to the top. As I was climbing I came upon a small landslide. I walked up the middle of it because it was exposed bedrock. It seemed completely strange to me how such a landslide could happen toward the top of a hill. But as I got closer to the top of the landslide, there was a spring still flowing right at the top. So with the big rains a few days ago, there must have been a big gush coming out of the spring for a short time. At any rate, it was a lot of water.

I then went to Sturgis to get an oil filter for my bike, then I changed my bike oil and the lawnmower oil.



Recreations of photos with mother from long ago to today, in the same spots.

Mostly looking for work today. Yesterday was a meeting for what to do for the school fundraiser walk next year. The concern is that it's hard to guess how many people will be coming; the 120 like usual, or the 800 like this year? Also, can we do more things than there are people for?

August 9 the lady who wrote a book on Aunt Sally will have a book signing at the Galena school.

Also yesterday I went back to the landslide and took "ore" samples from the veins that were exposed. I'm 99% sure it's just crumbly rock, but worth a shot I guess. This makes me think of all the people long ago running around these hills checking rocks for signs of gold and silver. I'm just starting to get a handle on what they were looking for exactly. I also think now that you could poke a tunnel into any hill in Galena and eventually you'd find a nice vein of ore with silver in it. The problem is, then what do you do? The ore has to be processed somehow. Do you build a mill on site for that, or ship it out? How many people should you hire? Is there enough silver per ton to make a profit? So I can see why, even though there is plenty of silver left here, nobody is rushing to go after it.


I was talking to some folks in Lead who are going to build a house up near Wild Bill's in August. They said Joe, the guy who owns the Merritt mines, is thinking of giving tours of the mine. So that would be why he keeps working on his road up to the mine. I don't know that he has all that much stuff up there other than a hole in the hill, but whatever.

I took the old stuffed chair from Gammy's to the dump after taking off the rocking base. That might be handy for something. At any rate, there's a lot more room in here now, and I'll bet Gammy was the last person to sit in it.

Moving back to Clark's today. Going to part 3 of Celtic history talk in Lead tonight.


Today I went with my metal detector to some old roads south of Perly's. They turned out to be logging roads, but I metal detected everywhere I went. I wound up on top of one hill and took video from there. I came down a different way, but in all that walking I never got any hits except on a logging cable, which was sticking out of the ground anyway. So that was a fun walk but a bust finding any treasure. I had walked by where I had heard growling on a previous excursion but didn't see any sign of vicious animals. I only saw a couple of deer and a woodpecker.


Sealed the walkway to the Clark's outhouse with Thompson's sealer. I left one board unsealed as a test for next summer. See if you can tell which :) I also mowed the yards.

Since not much is happening (I applied for a docent job, saw the Days of 76 parade, blah blah), I'll tell about the slow deterioration of the snake body. So you can just skip this if that's not interesting.... you were warned.

Almost the second I cut open the snake, flies surrounded me. Flies were on the body almost the entire 3 weeks it took for the bones to be picked clean. At first it was just flies. Then as it dried out, other strange bugs came, including one that looks like that waterbug that makes a sand cocoon around itself, sans cocoon. Black round beetles came by next, and seemed to all be mating on the carcass. I guess snake meat is an aphrodisiac to some. These beetles hung around quite a while. Butterflies, something that looked like a bee, and other various bugs took turns gradually eating away the meat from the bones. About the 3rd night some animal took away the tail, and moved the body maybe 2 feet. The body gradually curled up as it was being eaten. I had placed the head next to the body but it was not very inviting since not many bugs even bothered with it. It kept the skin until it disappeared toward the end of the process.

Some black bugs that look like long sow or armadillo bugs gradually took over form the beetles. They were around until the very end. The very end was when only the spine was left. The ribs had all been removed somehow and were mostly under the spine. So in the end, all that was left was a coiled up spine that made it look like this was not a very big snake at all.

The skin is a little wrinkly, so I'm thinking of soaking it in the tanning solution again after I get some brass tacks to nail it to the board. I'll just leave it like that and maybe in the future somebody will want to make wallets or something.


Today I went up to the road that goes west of Perly's. I stopped at a place that looked like there had been digging and climbed up the hill. There was a logging road up there that I traversed but didn't see much. So I hiked to the cliff at the top of the hill and took some video. Sure enough, my batteries died on my still camera, and I didn't bring spares.

I hiked a little farther and found that there are 2 mines along the road. Both seem to go in maybe 20 feet, but the first may go farther. I'll have to go back and check. At the first there was an intersting football-sized piece of dark quartz embedded in sandstone. I suppose seeing something like that is what made Perly (I assume) dig there. The 2nd mine had some great tailings right outside, so I brought a couple of samples home. John said the distorted rock with holes in it is called mineralized rock, and it's similar to what was in the mine at Gilt Edge.

I then went up to the landslide and carefully examined the rock there. I took two samples; a bunch of the brown soft stone in the veins, and the silver looking stone between and around the brown stone that is in a few places. The rock around the veins looks a lot like the rock around Mt. Rushmore, so I assume there's not much in there really. So far tonight I pounded and panned some of the brown stuff (the cheapest way to test ore). It does not look promising. Tomorrow I'll finish that and then do the more promising smaller sample. I'm a prospector! Should I put that on my resume?

I saw the deer today next to Rosie's. Haven't seen the turkeys in several days. Mosquitoes are terrible at night. I might lie out on the roof tonight and watch stars for the first time.

Tonight; 4 southbound, 2 northbound, and 3 eastbound satellites. One cool shooting star that left a few second trail, though that might be a trick on the eye. A few fire flies. I hate having to stop watching the stars because I'm sure I'll miss something, even though every night they're out there and I'm not even thinking about them. The mosquitoes weren't out when I was star watching.


After going into town I drove to Anchor Mountain Mine with the prospectus that has a map. I spent a couple of hours locating the buildings and taking photos. I'll put up a web page about the place later.

No luck on my landslide samples yet. I'm going to a prospector store tomorrow in Rapid to see if there's an easy test for silver.

Meanwhile, here's the Super Fund site...


Today I went to Hill City and Custer to check out their museums and libraries. I'm looking for Black Hills Mining Review back issues, but pretty much nobody has ever even heard of them. The Hill City lady had heard of them and thought only the state historical society had copies. That means I might have to go to Pierre to see them. I'm thinking they might have mentions of Anchor Mountain. Anyway, I put up a few posters about the Aunt Sally book signing, drove some back roads and checked out the weird rock in the southern hills, went to Deadwood to upload my hawk attack video, and came home to prepare for a very cold evening. It might get down to freezing! In July! I was planning to go into Rapid today but ran out of time.

It had rained .3" while I was gone.

I eat lettuce out of my garden every morning. The pea pods are almost ready to eat. The cucumbers just started flowering.

I haven't seen turkeys in forever, and just that one deer now and then. Last night I heard strange howling close by, but it could have just been a strange cat.

I put up a site about Tom Houlette here.

Oh, the rocks in the southern hills are quite interesting. At least the granite stuff. The rest is just the same limestone, sandstone, and shale like around here. But I saw white, brown, and red quartz all together in one place south of Custer. There's these strange black shiny sometimes tubular crystals in places. I think that's tourlamine. I got one piece where the tourlamine went right through some mica.

I've got to get busy and finish up the stuff I'm planning to do here in case I get work.

The landslide rock so far seems devoid of any expensive minerals. I still can't figure out how you can tell if there's silver. The samples at the School of Mines museum look like some kind of black substance that could be mistaken for something else. I wish I could find and easy test for silver ore.


It was 40 degrees last night!

Today I went back to Perly's mines. Both go in maybe 25 feet. Both seem to be following a one inche layer between sandstone above and shale below. I might try to pan some of that layer and see if any gold shows up.

I went into the El Ref*gio and actually went to both ends this time. The right tunnel seems to have caved in a little at the end, but the left tunnel seemed fine. You have to crawl through both. There's some cool complex rock structures in there...

I wish I knew what it all was.

I permanently stuck the snake skin on a board after resoaking it to make it a bit pliable again. I'm making a shelf in Clark's for Anchor Mountain stuff. I think we need a book shelf, but I don't have a way to transport one anyway.


Went into Rapid and got my SD driver's license finally. A relatively painless process.

I also finally found the Black Hills Mining Review copies in the School of Mines library. I looked through the indexes that the Mines made and read through a bunch of it, but saw no mention of Tom Houlette nor Anchor Mountain. These were from 1896 through 1907. So now I have to find some reference source for the 1930s and see if I can find something there.

I went through the Journey Museum, then through the gallery there. The gallery had a display of ethnic heritage of the Black Hills. There was a section on Finns that was mostly about how they made many of the log cabins and log construction, such as the Deadood fairgrounds seating. The author said it was a good thing the Finns came over because most of the other Scandinavians were professional people who didn't know how to do construction.


Lots of motorcycles.

It rained .3" last night, with some strong winds. There was a dead lady bug in the gauge.

Yesterday I went to the School of Mines and read an undergrad report on Galena. It was useful and interesting. He said he put sample #3374 in the museum, of reniform. So I went to the museum and asked if I could see sample #3374. The lady there said they didn't have a database for their holdings! So she had no idea where #3374 would be. She gave me the card of someone in charge of an undergrad program to create a database. Also, they're moving to a new building soon, so they'd better have it done by then. Hard to believe, huh?

I also talked to a guy in Pierre who has information on Anchor Mountain, so I'll go there in a couple of weeks.

No job yet. I'm going to take the Casino class that's pretty much required to work in Deadwood, and write an article to sell.

The one deer that is left in the valley here has a fawn. The turkeys have completely disappeared.

I mowed the schoolhouse yard yesterday, getting ready for the Aunt Sally book signing this Sunday.


It was the coolest July on record, if I heard the radio right, and August is pretty darned cool too. It's rained a bit every night for the past few nights. My garden is going great. I'm eating peas and lettuce every morning, waiting for the blooming cucumbers to finally produce something.

I saw GI Joe yesterday and liked it simply because of its frenetic energy.

No job yet, but I think I've figured out my long-term plans at least.

Fixed the root cellar door yesterday and cleaned the thing out. It was mostly old bottles that were worth saving. A newspaper lining the shelf was from 1985, so apparently that's the last time it was cleaned out.

I saw 3 turkeys up by Chet's yesterday, which is the only time I've seen them in weeks. The deer hangs out but is discreet about it. The chipmunk was actually over at Clark's the other day, which is the first time I've seen it there. And then, here are some flies or bees or whatever they are having sex. They actually flew around in this position, landing here and there. They were the size of carpenter bees.

And here's a "disconformity" in Lead near the high school. The lower crumbly schist stuff is in a hodgepodge and mostly angled upward. It's had a long, hard life. The sandstone above is one billion years younger than the lower stuff. So there's a billion years missing in the geological record here. The theory is that a bunch of stuff got eroded away before the sandstone deposits. But I think it's cool you can touch rocks together that are a billion years apart from each other.


Part 3 here