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Thursday, August 24, 2017

A BackBone Photo Essay

Sometimes the words get in the way.

Here's a collection of photographs showcasing the Black Hills BackBone. Maybe this will better convey the unique beauty of this remote road ride.

A forested island surrounded by the expansive prairie. Picnic Springs USFS campground near the North Dakota border.

A Dakota Marker stands as a lone sentry on the North Dakota - South Dakota border.

Road sign at the North Dakota border, looking like a tough old tree above timberline.

Ere the sun rises! Breathe deep the freedom of the wide open Northern Prairie.

More so than individuals, herds of buffalo inspire wonder, knowing that their ancestors filled the northern plains.

Harding, South Dakota. A stop on the Medora-Deadwood Stage Coach Line. A few years back.

Harding County gravel stretches toward the horizon, revealing the first promise of the distant Black Hills.

Geographic Center of the United States, marked by a sincere tribute to the curious curiosity.

Seemingly no end to the Northern Prairie gravel.

The gravel thickens, as the road turns through deciduous trees, up and into the foothills on Crooked Oaks Road.

 A couple of miles of non-maintained dirt on Sale Barn Road behave in the dry heat of mid-summer. Try this road wet.

Typical two track Black Hills gravel on USFS secondary roads. Maybe 100 miles of stuff like this.

Black Fox Camp Road. Simply the best.

Signature shot of the Black Hills BackBone, cresting the shoulders of Flag Mountain.

Rolling over White Tail Loop for the sights, sounds and smells of Deerfield Lake, as well as a primitive water stop.

Early morning start on Williams Draw Road. I don't see any mountain lions. Well, at least not here.

Harney Peak and Crazy Horse Memorial from Custer Limestone Road. Worth the extra climb for that ridge line view.

Gravel through classic Central Hills granite. Now we're cruising.

More classic Central Black Hills granite. Uphill this time.

Flying down Flynn Creek Road, the valley opens.

Cold Springs School House, Church and Cemetery. 1887 structures fully restored back in 1965.

Prairie Dog suburbs extend into the gravel roads in Wind Cave National Park.

Local fast guys. You know who they are.

Local boss.  In his territory.

Rankin Ridge Road in Wind Cave National Park, en route to Buffalo Gap and the Southern Prairie.

At the Buffalo Gap Trading Post, Shaun exalts, "These are my people!"

Nasty steep out of Oral, en route to steep rollers on Ash Road.

The billowing ribbon of snow-lined gravel fades to dirt as the BackBone reaches for the Nebraska border.

A solar powered light for the American flag, off Black Banks Road, 4 miles from the border.

Sunset at the Nebraska border.

Finish line.

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