A North American Spiritual Arc, Part 5/ Heart of the Black Hills, Part 4: Harney Peak, from Sylvan Lake to Cathedral Spires

After spending about an hour at Crazy Horse Monument, I headed directly for Custer State Park, and Sylvan Lake.  From there, Trails 4 & 9 offer breathtaking choices, in heading for the summit of Harney Peak, another mountain that is sacred to indigenous people of the High Plains.    I will describe my hike of Sunday, July 21, in three segments.  Today,  I present the first half of the ascent:  Trail #4, from Sylvan Lake to Cathedral Spires.

The photos will tell the rest.  The approach to Custer State Park offers a hint of what lies ahead on Harney Peak.

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Next,we arrive at Sylvan Lake, a very popular fishing and swimming spot.

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Now, on to Trail # 4.

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The Black Hills remain heavily forested, yet have igneous, granite and limestone formations much like those of points further west.

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A spire, looking like a cave, got some new friends and I in the mood for further adventures, uptrail.

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The trail itself is quite moderate, in terms of elevation gain, up to and including the turnoff to Little Devil’s Tower (which I did not visit, this time) and Cathedral Spires.  It was worth noting, however, the effects of heat on the quartz which is also ubiquitous here.

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Now, back to the various and wondrous shapes, which the rocks present.

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Wildflowers get in their two cents, every now and then.

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Through it all, the rock guardians keep watch.

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Soon, again alone, I came to Cathedral Spires.

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From these majestic volcanic uplifts, I would continue on a somewhat steeper course, to the awe-inspiring summit of the highest mountain in the Great Plains region.

13 thoughts on “A North American Spiritual Arc, Part 5/ Heart of the Black Hills, Part 4: Harney Peak, from Sylvan Lake to Cathedral Spires

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