In My Backyard

One of the wonderful advantages of living in the Black Hills is the diverse landscape; from the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands to the Black Hills National Forest, there’s a wide variety of scenery to enjoy.


Our home is situated at the foothills of the Black Hills National Forest, where higher elevations, cooler temperatures and trees meet the more arid, warmer, and more valley-type country.

We’re surrounded by sparsely populated pines that are scattered out along the hills’ horizon but within walking distance—probably a half mile away, I can immerse myself with these quiet, craggy canyon walls that are hidden from the nearby highway.

The acoustics of this area drowns out the sounds of semi-trucks and vehicle traffic traveling north and south.


This is the route we push our cows through after springtime branding. It’s enroute to some leased ground we turn our cows out on until June 1st when we move them to summer pasture. Walking or riding through this area makes a person feel like they’re deep in canyon country far from roads.

It’s a place where I could easily picture a mountain lion sitting camouflaged by the rocks on a cliff ledge (yet hope I never do) but is actually just the back side of a big knob where traffic connects Minnekata Junction and Pringle.


Oftentimes this is a popular destination where relatives will meander to walk off Thanksgiving dinner that we’ve hosted at our home.

It’s a photographer’s paradise and just recently, I took family photos for a girlfriend in this location which turned out to be a spectacular backdrop.   


It’s not a very long canyon but it’s a pleasant place to ride horseback, take our dog for a stroll through on a nice fall day, or surround myself when I seek quiet to hear my own voice. I enjoy looking at the rock formations and am always amazed that this little canyon exists when there’s a wide open valley just around the corner.


It rarely happens, but one year we got a lot of rain in a short amount of time and it filled up the dam and canyon bottom. My husband hadn’t seen water here since he was a kid. Just for the novelty of it, we put our canoe in and paddled the kids around to experience canoeing in the canyon before the little dam disappeared. This area was once under water by 3 or so feet.


Since I was a kid, one of my favorite joys of living in the country and especially in the Black Hills has been having places like this nearby to escape to.

About ranchwifeslant

Amy writes a humor column based on rural living and ranch life from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. She and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth generation cow/calf operation near Pringle; the Elk Capital of South Dakota.
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One Response to In My Backyard

  1. Illoura says:

    A true slice of heaven! It would be a great place to dream up western story scenarios- and a wonderful place for kids to grow up around – it seems like a wilderness area, but it’s not, so it’s the best of both worlds.

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