Geologists tell us that erosion formed these badlands around a half-million years ago, and that erosion will erase them over the next half-million years. I never get tired of the views, and continually wonder what's down there. I mean way down there, where there are no roads or trails and where it is very likely no human has ever walked. Probably dinosaur bones. Fossils of prehistoric sea creatures. Maybe even bits of meteorites. I would love to take a magnet into the depths of this landscape and drag it around for a while. I've done that around the Black Hills and even on well traveled trails have found old rusty square nails and magnetic pebbles and dirt. Who knows what lies in other-worldly landscapes like this?
I know something that can be found around these parts if you take the time to find and sift through ant piles. Beads. Very old stone beads, newer glass beads, and modern day plastic beads. Ants seem to love them and apparently will carry them a long way back to their homes.
I found these searching in a pile just off the road. They are glass, and there were more. But the ants were getting mad at me for disturbing them, so I didn't dig deep or look for very long. Besides, I had more sites to see and discoveries to make.
I backtracked to the town of Hermosa where I stopped long enough to take a picture of a sign for a drive-in theatre. It's nice to know there's still one around.
From there it was a short drive into the Black Hills toward the town of Keystone. On the way I spied an unfamiliar and unmarked trail off the main highway that looked like it had not seen much use, which was a good reason for me to pull over and do a little exploring. Turns out it was a good decision. Not far up the trail I came upon an old abandoned structure which may have been a mica mine years ago. I suspected mica because there was an abundance of the mineral all around the area.
This was not my best discovery of the day, however. That came a short time later farther up the trail. Pink quartz! I can find white or clear quartz in many of my favorite places, but have had very little success in finding the more desirable pink version of the crystal. But here it was in various sizes just scattered on the ground and sticking out of the side of the hill. I gathered up a few pieces, marked the location, and now can't wait to go back and collect more. I don't do anything with it, just like to have it around the house and yard. It's a good source of positive and healing energy.
The entire round trip totaled about 200 miles. Not a lot when considering how much I enjoyed the day. It's a trip I'll make again. Most likely not until next spring. But it will give me something to think about and look forward to during these long winter days and nights which will be closing in on us soon. Too soon.
Roger O'Dea 10/22/2017