Thursday, August 09, 2007

"Travelogue: Norbeck Overlook, Black Hills, SD"

Peter Norbeck 1870-1936
South Dakota Governor and Senator

His vision helped create Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, among other significant preservationist efforts. A time-honored quote of his sums up the region he helped protect:

"You're not supposed to drive here at 60mph. To do the scenery half justice, people should drive 20 or under. To do it full justice, they should get out and walk."

Thank you, Peter Norbeck, for preserving this wild and beautiful region. Thank you for your creative roadways, 'pigtail' bridges, and 'drive' to ensure others may enjoy it, as well. The Peter Norbeck Memorial Highway (aka 16A and Iron Mountain Road) ranks up there as a road not to be missed, and traveled slowly as he suggested. This 'postcard' was created at one little stop atop Iron Mountain.

I purposefully left Rapid City early one weekend morning so that I could be up at the top of Iron Mountain at the Peter Norbeck Overlook to catch the dawning of a new day. A beautiful bright moon was slowly setting in the direction of most of the views from this bend in the road. No cars. No people. Just the pups and I, graced by a light wind blowing through the scrubby pines up at that high elevation.

Some of you love the beach and the ocean. Some of you love lakes and rivers. I love rocks and mountains. To go sit on the Grandfather Rocks and be still at such a wonderful time of day is some of the best Medicine that can be had. Myself, I love silence. Quickly enough you start hearing the slightest chatter from a Junco, or a Scrub Jay...chipmunk shadows start dancing, wary yet curious of my pups enjoying it just as much as I. With the rising of the sun the world embraces the start of a new day...

The shadowy blues gave way to the warming yellows of the sun, punctuating the landscape with pointed contrasts...

The cerulean skies were cloudless and free of any haze or particulate matter...outside of some summer days, one of the first observations you make out there is how clear the air is and how blue the sky is...this day was no exception.

Mt. Rushmore is close by, and you can get a glimpse of it from the overlook...the perspective is most interesting, since the vast majority of people see the monument only from up close, looking up to the huge stone visages.

Often we get spoiled by color images...but I like to also look at scenes in terms of form and texture in black and white...every time I look at this one it looks like some little scene from a model landscape, like one of those complex model railroad landscapes...

The Black Hills are all about rocks...big rocks...lots of rocks...endless playgrounds for the adventurous...

I think we spent a couple of hours wandering around this one overlook, enjoying serenity at its finest. Even Mercy gave it her paw of approval as she regally surveyed the view with me.

I made a short video postcard from this visit a couple of years ago. The link below will take you right to it, complete with pseudo-wolf flute music!

Video Postcard: Norbeck Overlook

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