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Le French Creek

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So this blog is turning into a one-stop-shop for all things outdoor South Dakota. I’m sure you guys are wondering how interesting it could possibly be to spend every Saturday tromping through the woods, fighting mosquitos (said with Bear Grylls accent), and watching your husband fish to his heart’s content. 
The answer is…it’s awesome.
Every Saturday we wake up, and after a big breakfast (usually of waffles, lately sourdough waffles) we pack our gear and hit the road. In our bags we make a point to pack every kind of clothing we could possibly need so that we are prepared for wherever life takes us that day, and the possibility that we may not even make it home. It’s a very liberating feeling to pick a direction and just go. No specific plan in mind. No deadlines or time constraints. Just you, your family, and a Saturday to blow.
Jim LOVES these Saturdays.
Dear God, PLEASE don’t leave me!!!
So last Saturday Husband picked the French Creek area to explore. It’s located in Custer State Park and came recommended by his Trout Fishing In The Black Hills book. So, of course, we had to check it out. 

We hiked a short way in before my growling stomach demanded that we stop for lunch. Not two seconds after getting our plasticware popped open we heard thunder. It would have be logical to walk to the half mile back to the car and wait out the storm. But we threw logic to the wind, because, you know what is more fun than sitting cozy in a cramped crossover?
Building a hobbit shelter 🙂

Some may say that watching every bleeping episode of Man vs. Wild is a good waste of your time. I, however, would like to verify that you can, in fact, learn from TV. 

I totally recalled the steps Bear took to built his little shelters. Granted there were enough broken limbs and dead pine needles scattered on the ground that it didn’t require us to scale a tree and cut down supplies.

But we were pretty proud of ourselves.

And of course it ended up not raining.
Apparently Jean got into some berries, or our stash of booze. Girlfriend pulled out her best drunk face for the camera.

 

Jim found a fav spot up on the trail. Shortly after adding the finishing pieces to our shelter a trail runner stopped dead in her tracks at the site of the big black animal in her path. We later learned she had just ran within a few feet of a massive buffalo before she realized what it was. Still in shock from that experience she was having a little difficulty trusting her eyes as to whether Jim was a bear or not.

He’s a friendly bear at least.

Husband was in fishing heaven. He caught two fish in his first two casts, and continued on that way for an hour or so.

Granted some were the world’s smallest fish to ever catch a hook.

The rest of us practiced our mountain goating while we waited. Speaking of, I saw my first big horned sheep on the drive in! It looked like a statue posed ever so perfect on a cliff. 

 

Our favorite time of the day was upon us so we said goodbye to our shelter, took a dip in the creek, and depended on a few baby wipes I had stashed in the glove compartment to freshen up before dinner.

We had traded numbers with our new trail running buddy and had plans to meet up in Custer for drinks. The lady runs ultra marathons! We’re talking 100 mile races, all in one day. My brain is still having a hard time wrapping itself around that concept. 
This was our first time actually stopping in Custer. The unique thing about this area is the outlying towns. Between Spearfish, Custer, Deadwood, Sturgis, Keystone, Hill City, and of course Rapid City, you can be somewhere new within 30 minutes to an hour, and find a totally different kind of entertainment for the day or weekend. 

We found a patio on a rooftop bar and drank a few beers watching the sun set with our new friend. Then we visited The Bavarian Inn to nosh on some German food before heading home.
Another Saturday down, awesome memories, tired pups, and full hearts.

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