Spearfish is a nice little town to visit, and the hotel is excellent. But the road awaits, under overcast – but clearing skies.
Our first drive takes us through the scenic Spearfish Canyon, cut by the namesake river through thick layers of limestone and granite, leaving behind cliffs that are a gloomy grey or cadaverous white, towering all around us. These are surrounded and enshrouded by a vast lush forest of trees, some aspen, but mostly deep green pines, which in this early morning light makes it seem almost like we are lost somewhere in Maine. A few trees are suffering, turning orange as a certain beetle is slowly killing off vast reaches of forests just as Dutch Elm Disease did years ago to American Elms.