I can see for miles and miles,
I can see for miles and miles,
I can see for miles and miles and miles and…ok you get the point…I just kept hearing this song by The Who as we drove from Rapid City to Amidon, ND on the way to the high point White Butte. The drive was BEAUTIFUL – you really could see for miles in every direction as the landscape was pretty flat – and we also saw a rogue cow running down the road. Poor guy got out of his pasture somehow!
We followed these instructions from Summitpost.org:
From Amidon, ND:
– Go E on US 85 for 2.0 miles to an unmarked gravel road.
– Turn S (R) on the road and continue on for 5.0 miles to another gravel road.
– Turn W (R) and continue 1.2 miles to the VanDaele’s farmhouse.
There is actually a sign pointing towards the highpoint from 85, but I read on another blog that the road wasn’t the best so we opted to go to the next road, which follows the instructions above. It brings you right to the donation box at the start of the trail. After you place your donation (I read online $10 is the standard amount – the box has a padlock, but it’s open a bit on one side so you can slide the donation in) you can drive down the lane to the gate, but the road is really rutted out so it’s not recommended. Believe me, this would be really tricky to drive down even in an SUV, plus it only adds 2 miles round trip to an already pretty short hike, and the views are gorgeous walking down the lane – ENJOY THEM!
We ran into some people on their way down who joked that they scared all of the rattlesnakes away! We talked to them about highpointing a bit and then Dad and I continued to the gate, which was tied shut, but part of the fence to the left of the gate was removed anyway. Continue walking past the gate, keeping the fence on your left. You get to a spot where it looks like the trail splits and goes up to the left or off to the right. We walked to the right for a bit, but it seemed like it was more an area where the water runs down when it’s raining than a trail so we backtracked and headed up. The trail looked dry, but as soon as we stepped on it we slid – it was muddy underneath. It was also pretty steep at this point so it was hard to get traction. I fell on my knees and then I heard my dad fall behind me. I tried to run/hop up the slick area to get to a spot where it flattened out and made it. My dad said he wasn’t sure about the trail and for me to just go ahead. He tried one more time and I heard “AGHHHHH!” so I turned around and rushed back – I couldn’t see him. As I peered down the steep section I see my dad getting up with a scowl on his face. Seems like my dad slid down White Butte on his…well…white butt! 🙂
He told me he would just wait for me at the bottom so after making sure he was really ok I continued on. At one point I turned around and could see my dad – a tiny dot way below. I took my phone out and snapped a picture, and dropped my phone instead of putting it in my pocket. I didn’t realize this until I was further down the trail and I went to take another picture. I decided to keep going because I had my other camera anyway – in hindsight I wish I would have just backtracked and gotten it, but oh well.
It was so windy at the top, but the view was stunning!! I tried flipping through the register to find Michael J Fox’s signature, but with the wind and being distracted by the loss of my phone I never found it (he hiked it in July 2015 for any future highpointers who want to find his signature). I snapped a few pictures with my camera and enjoyed the views – I could actually see my dad again (I could pick out his red sweatshirt) and tried waving, but didn’t know if he was looking.
I headed back down and found my phone where I figured it would be – in the middle of the trail where I stopped to take a pic of my dad – I was so relieved that it didn’t bounce somewhere that I couldn’t get to!!
I met back up with my dad who was covered in mud and told me that he chose to stand in a circular clearing because 1) He could see me better and 2) he could spin around and see if any snakes were coming. 🙂
Here are a few pictures of our hike back to the car (no wonder I was slipping – look at the bottom of my trail runners!! LOL):
We drove through the town of Deadwood on the way home, but didn’t get out because there were a lot of people and my dad was covered in mud – we were hoping for a more rustic looking town – with wooden buildings and swinging double wooden doors like a real wild west town, but it wasn’t like that at all – we were sort of bummed and headed back to Rapid City to stay another night.
This was a fantastic hike – only about 4 miles from the donation box and fairly flat until the last 1/2 mile or so. The views are awesome from the top – I will definitely be doing this hike again!! 🙂
Here’s a video I put together of the hike:
Next stop – The Badlands National Park and Sioux Falls! 🙂