|It's 0 dark:30 spinning out of Deerfield Lake. There are no mountain lions in the Black Hills, right?
|The snow is long gone since my last ride through here, but the scene remains.
Rolling south on Williams Gulch Road in the pre-dawn darkness, I can just make out a slow moving herd of large mammals meandering across. I stop, but lose track after counting 20 some elk. The harem passes. OK. Where's the king? A short gap. Then he arrives. A mammoth bull with a majestic rack. He stops mid-road, turns his head directly at me, maybe 20 yards away. As I reach for my camera, he bolts into the darkness.
|A ridge line on Custer Limestone Road.
|Always a good sign. Heading out of Custer toward more back roads.
|The ubiquitous prairie dog is easy to overlook, with all the big mammals and big views.
Decision time. Continue on the known Black Hills BackBone route to Nebraska and beyond to Edgemont to camp? Or turn west to climb back into the Black Hills for some unknown-to-me back roads? Which way should I go?