Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 33-July 3, 2011- Black Hills National Park, Sundance Wyoming

Dearest Readers,

Had the “hurry sickness” today. I hightailed it out of my high mountain Montana campsite (near Yellowstone), and headed East-South-East for the Black Hills of Sundance Wyoming, pop.-1200, churches-9. (Not the town in Utah of independent film festival fame, but it is the place that the Sundance Kid came from.) There's a preponderance of older men and women with a gritty, no-nonsense demeanor in the Aero restaurant on Main Street where I'm sitting with a bad coffee and a great buttermilk biscuit, but I digress.

When I descended from the Rockies into South-Central Montana, the temperature soared. The landscape widened and the blue sky formed a 360-degree dome down to the horizon. The earth was cliché Western again, with sagebrush and scruffy spiny bushes. The area is blessed with rivers and fields of grass with a yellow flower blooming all over the hills and dusty bluffs, and an occasional stand of blue bells.

We traveled through rolling hills in the Big Horn and Crow Indian country turning southeast towards Wyoming. This is the place sadly famous for Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. You can barely see the Big Horn Range of the Rockies in the distance...through my buggy windshield.

We crossed into Wyoming near the Bighorn Range. This land is big and wide and barely inhabited. I filled up whenever the gas tank hit half-full, if I could find a gas station. There are miles between towns with services, even on I-90.

We crossed Wyoming’s comical bit of landscape called the Red Hills (God’s answer to the wavy hillocks of Idaho’s Palouse?). These large dollops of red earth with raggedy grass sides resemble pimples popping out of the surface. Some look like breasts with pointy red nipples.

Reuter Campsite near Sundance was worth the drive, despite no showers and the now familiar pit toilet. I washed my feet and hair at a cold pump. The site is in a pristine pine forest. There was a brief gust of wind in the night, the starry sky clouded for about an hour and let loose a gentle rain and lightning that scared Etta stiff. Then it passed. I am at peace here tonight.

The people I meet at the tent camping and RV sites are usually locals, taking a weekend with family near home. America has such a wealth of communities and loving parents. I long for my little nook in Decatur, my family in Atlanta, Portland, Brooklyn, my friends, artists,the natural beauty and cool temps of the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the red clay hills and decent winters of Georgia.

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