Working on my Bucket List

Black Elk Peak, South Dakota


When I was in junior high, my Dad took me on a two-week Summer road trip to South Dakota. We had a ton of fun, going to Mount Rushmore, Reptile Gardens, Devil's Tower (which is across the border into Wyoming), Cosmos Mystery Area, and a bunch of other places. However, what really stands out about that trip is our day at Black Elk Peak. It was renamed in 2016, but for many years it was known as Harney Peak. My Dad wanted to hike to the top, and about halfway there I thought I was going to die. It was hard and I whined almost the entire way. I can remember my Dad saying numerous times that it was, "Just a little bit farther." After a while, I realized he was lying, but I still love him anyway. Haha!

Black Elk Peak, at 7242 feet, is the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe. My Dad has been back there a few times, and one of those times he brought me back a sticker that said, "I Climbed Harney Peak". I chuckled but my Dad reminded me that I deserved it because I did climb it after all, even if I did whine the entire time.

On our upcoming family vacation in June, we're going to spend a couple of days in Rapid City, SD, which is a short drive from Black Elk Peak. Since I've been progressing nicely on my road to health, I've decided that I want to take The Teen with me on a hike up to the top of it. This time without the whining...okay, I might whine a little. I might take my husband and Nature Girl too, but we'll see. Nature Girl would have a hard time with it and my husband has asthma, so they will more than likely stay behind.

As I get older, I realize that it's time to start working on my Bucket List and climbing Black Elk Peak is on that list. While I have plenty of other goals on my Bucket List, this one is the closest and easiest one to accomplish. It will be the second thing on my list, behind traveling to Europe, that I've been able to accomplish, and, until then, I'll be training. I've been walking around 4 - 4.5 miles on the weekdays and taking at least one 5-mile challenging hike on the weekends. In fact, last weekend I climbed My Nemesis as part of a larger hike, and I only needed to take one quick and one longer break on the way up. I'll be ready next month to climb Black Elk Peak, and I'll be sure to keep you posted.

What's the most challenging hike you've ever taken?
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