Make it Monumental

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This year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which doesn’t officially begin until Aug. 3, is getting an early start this year. We’re already seeing thousands of early bird bikers throughout the Black Hills. And Keystone has always been a must-see item on the average biker bucket list.

It could be the open boardwalks and verandas where bikers can sit with a cold drink and watch the ongoing motorcycle parade on Winter Street. It could be the restaurants and shops, or the laid-back attitude of Keystone.

Darrell Red Cloud, a fifth-generation descendant of Chief Red Cloud, gives presentations at the Youth Exploration Area at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. On this day, he was talking about the connection between sculptor Gutzon Borglum and the Native Americans.

The Youth Exploration Area is a great way for children (and adults) to learn more about Native American culture. There are lots of images and an authentic Native American teepee.

Darrell’s presentations are never the same, and he covers a wide range of topics. Definitely worth looking for if your family is going to Mount Rushmore this summer.

About 10 miles south of Keystone, on the northern edge of Custer State Park, there’s a magical place that for 70 years has been a nighttime gathering place for summer visitors, Black Hills locals and aspiring young actors.

Crazy Horse Memorial, less than 20 miles from Keystone, was recently featured in a very nice CNN report about the mountain carving. We have a great deal of respect for sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and his life-long effort the create a monument to the Lakota leader. Ruth Ziolkowski kept his dream alive, and his children continue their work.

 

You have to envy the young folks who grew up in and around Keystone. The rest of us so-called flatlanders cooled off in reservoirs, rivers, stockponds, lakes (if we were lucky) and city swimming pools. But for as long as anyone can remember, kids in Keystone and the Black Hills have whiled away summer afternoons at Hippy Hole, Devil's Bathtub and other-off-the-map cool spots.

But if you know how to find them, you too can take the plunge. They're not exclusive. Just not well-known. Hippy Hole is a few miles east of Keystone on Battle Creek. There's a big pond, fed by a tranquil waterfall and flanked by rocky crags. (Be careful if you're thinking of cliff diving. It's a long hobble to medical attention if slip or miscalculate.)

To get to Hippy Hole, you'll need to do some hiking. It's not one of those paved-parking, stay-ont-the trail kinds of places. Ask anyone in Keystone, and they'll give you directiorns.