Sunday, April 27, 2008

South Dakota Weather

For the past two weeks, South Dakota has been at its springtime best: every day I walk out of school with my shirtsleeves rolled up; the sun is shining; even the grass, usually dry and brown, is turning green after the snow. Camping weather, finally.

We made plans to head to Custer. Then I started checking the weather: high of 53 on Saturday. Then a revision: high of 48 on Saturday. High of 42 on Saturday. High of 38 on Saturday. 60% chance of precipitation on Saturday.

So camping turned into cabining.

Saturday turned out be a nice day. It was sunny but cool in the morning. In the afternoon we decided to drive to Little Devil's Tower. My guidebook said it was a hike suitable for families with small children.

When we got in the cars it was 40 degrees out, cold but sunny, a beautiful day. Within the 15 minutes it took us to get into the park, the temperature had dropped to 30. Still nice if you kept moving.

Passing into the rocks.

The hike was flat at first. Then it started to get steeper. And steeper.

Small children can't climb rocks like this.

The top of the hike was great. We were scrambling straight up rock faces. Atop the mountain, we had a view on one side of Cathedral Spires (I think) and on the other Harney Peak. The other side of Harney Peak was lost in a low-lying cloud. A bitter wind blew across the mountain. And as we waited for the stragglers to arrive, the clouds moved closer.

Soon a few tiny bits of snow were swirling in the wind. By the time I made my final ascent, I could not even see the outline of Harney Peak and the Spires were a swirl of mist. Just clouds.

Climbing in the snow.

Zach enjoying the view and the snow.

Within the twenty minutes we spent on top of the mountain, we found ourselves in a full on blizzard. An inch of snow had accumulated before we made it off the rocks--nearly an inch by the time we made it back to the cars.

And for those keeping score: 65 degrees and sunny today.

Cross reference the first photo to see the changing conditions.

1 comment:

Hildner said...

I did that hike about 10 years ago. Does it still have a summit register atop?