There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Deadwood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deadwood. Show all posts

25 March 2017

Mount Moriah Cemetery

In the year 1878 on a plateau high above Deadwood gulch, the bodies of "Wild Bill" Hickok and soon thereafter, Calamity Jane, were laid to rest in Mount Moriah cemetery.
This though is more than just a final resting place for legends of the Wild West, murderers, and pillars of Deadwood's early economic development.

It is a place to learn about the history of our country from the perspective of the dead buried here.
The real Mount Moriah is located in Jerusalem, Israel and is the location of Solomon's Temple. Here, you will find three gateway symbols at the cemetery entrance, representing the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Freemasonry, and the Star of David.

I have a special kinship with these symbols, as I learn that my Australian grandfather (a man I never met before he died) was a Freemason.
You see sections full of Chinese immigrants that have grave markers stacked upon each other in South Potter's field. Many of the Chinese that died here were eventually exhumed and returned to their country for a proper burial in their native custom, but many that could not be identified still remain.

South Potters field holds the poor and wretched children of Deadwood that lost their lives due to disease and other afflictions.
You swell with pride watching the US Flag fly proudly above in honor of the veterans of this country, my Father and Uncles among this group.

I sit in the cool afternoon of an Autumn's day, and let the spirits of old remind me of their sacrifice to build our country.

Nicknamed "Boot Hill", feel the power of Mount Moriah cemetery.

18 March 2017

The Mickelson Trail

It was a beautiful Autumn morning as I woke up in Deadwood, on the day of the 46th year since my birth. To celebrate, for lack of a better word, I went hiking along the Mickelson trail in the Black Hills.
Originally the Burlington Northern line that took trains from Edgemont to Deadwood, the Mickelson trail is now 109 glorious miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding. As I get started making my way out of town, I see a lone rabbit eating grass along the rivers edge. So intent am I watching this creature that I don't notice the man coming up alongside me.

He greets me warmly, waving his iron claw hands in the air. A veteran of WW2, he embodies the spirit that I love about this country, it's freedom and resiliency. He wishes me luck on my journey, and we part ways.
I'm soon immersed in the beauty of Fall colors on this October day, the sounds of town fading behind me. If time would allow, I'd complete all 109 miles.

I settle for 14 though, and it's a wonderful compromise. A couple of miles in, I chat with a lady on horseback, a family out for a picnic, and a couple of young mountain bikers. We all have the same grin on our faces from such a perfect day in the mountains.

I swig some water and carry onward.
I reach a summit and find a split in the trail, which is lucky for me as the alternate route is a loop that will eventually take me back to Deadwood, instead of having to return on the same route.

Hours later, I run into the same lady on horseback, and we smile as our paths cross again.

I wasn't aware that I had my camera on the "painting" setting, yet it captured the beauty of the hills perfectly, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.
Of all the hiking trails in all of the places in this world, I couldn't have been luckier to find myself on this trail, on this day, in this place in time.

13 March 2017

Deadwood

As the plane landed in Rapid City, I got my first glimpse of the Black Hills off in the distance. The rolling fields stretched endlessly going East, but the Black Hills rose in the West.

The closer I got to them, the more the Old Wild West came alive.
Back in the late 1800's, these Hills had their heyday as being full of riches for any man willing to work hard and stake their gold claim.

Today, the town is full of a crumbling history and Indian gambling casinos. But if you shift your vision slightly, you can still see what this town would have been like back in the day.
Take a stroll back in time to another America, 19th Century America, make your own fortune in the Black Hills of Deadwood.