Our friends Alan and Theresa own this super cool cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We stopped in for a few days on the drive out to Seattle, and then again for a couple days on the drive back to Chicago. On our first stop in, we did a bunch of climbing. I don't remember what most of it was called, but I do remember that the climb in the pictures here on the right is on a spire called the Tricouni Nail, in the Ten Pins area of the Needles. This is pretty famous, mostly for the cool simul-rappel off the top, where you run the rope through a notch across the top of the spire, then two people rappel off together, one off each side.

We also did a route up Bloody Spire, which is the climb that starts out in the middle of a parking lot, that you'll see below. Note the picture of Alan, taking his climbing very seriously.

Other diversions included hanging out at the cabin relaxing, playing badminton, bird watching, lots of good eating, a trip to Wind Cave, and some wildlife spotting.

Wind Cave is famous for "Boxwork", which is a strange cave formation of latticework looking stuff which is everywhere, rather than the more typical stalagmites/stalactites, of which they don't have very many. The cave was very cool, although our tour was fairly annoying.

As for wildlife, there is a huge prairie dog town, as well as lots of pronghorn, deer, wild turkeys and, of course, bison. The bison are very used to people, and they tend to just hang out near the roads, often causing big traffic jams when they decide to hang out in the road.

On the drive back to Chicago, the weather was horribly hot, so we didn't do too much except hang out at Sylvan Lake.

Updated 11/02/2006

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