Saturday, July 11, 2020

It’s all a matter of timing

All during my summer travels I’ve been telling myself, “There’s no schedule. You don’t need to move on. You can stay here another day or two. Just adjust a little to avoid weekend camper congestion.” Even though I didn’t listen a few times, I’ve been slow traveling. Slow for me, anyway.

I arrived in the Black Hills this morning, where the idea is to spend a day, then turn north to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, then return. It’s a good thing I didn’t arrive a week ago.

As I drove up beautiful Spearfish Canyon I started seeing downed trees, most of them snapped off. When I reached Savoy, there were crews with chainsaws, Bobcats, cranes, front-end loaders, flatbeds and dump trucks cleaning up debris. Wow, there must have been a hell of a storm. There was. Three tornadoes and tennis ball sized hail swept through the area last Friday. Man, I’m glad I missed that!

When I turned to go to Roughlock Falls, two fallen trees completely blocked the road. So I parked at the trailhead and walked. I was in a hiking mood. I was soon in a tree climbing mood because trees also blocked the trail in about a dozen places. But I found ways over, under, around and through them. 

It was a good thing I had set off without any gear. No hat, walking stick, water bottle, pack or DSLR camera. That stuff would’ve been snagging on things and making it harder to get past the tree falls.

I was sad so many trees had been destroyed, but I was also having fun. Woo-hoo, the old man is scrambling and climbing like his primate ancestors! Well, not quite that strong and graceful, but at least the old man didn’t give up at the first obstacle. Bad ass!

What would ordinarily be a casual stroll along a well defined path became a small adventure—enough fun to make it worthwhile in case the falls should be a disappointment. But they weren’t.


  1. Thanks for the video. I enjoyed seeing the falls in action.

  2. So the link shows storm damage from 2018. Does this large hail and tornadoes happen a lot in that specific area because of a special microclimate?

    1. In one of the articles I read, a local said hail was a common problem. When I was here in 2013 I got caught in a half-hour storm with garbanzo bean sized hail. As for tornadoes here, I didn't know they happened this far north.

  3. I guess it could go either way, but glad your slow down kept you from experiencing that storm. A Tree through the roof or broken solar panel wouldnt be fun. That is a beautiful falls, thanks for the video.

  4. Staying for sugar beet season? Only 4 more years for my SSD to turn into retirement. Then maybe I might get a job but it would be a shame to hurt my back again in the process since it has taken me 5 years to finally heal.