Michelson Trail

Adventure is in my veins. When I first met Bob, his lifestyle intrigued me, and I instantly latched on to the idea of bike-packing. Bob decided the 108 mile Michelson Trail in South Dakota would be a great introduction. He wanted me to experience bike-packing with fully loaded panniers before our bike tour in Costa Rica. My one week vacation in September of 2010 designated our travel time.

From Deadwood to Edgemont, we followed the semi-hard packed trail, climbing hills and wondered how they calculated a four percent grade. Trains must have struggled on one or two of those hills.

A late start caused us to “take a rest” under the shelter in the ghost town of Mystic, one of the trail-heads. “Take a rest” is used instead of “camping” because camping is not allowed along the trail but we had to stop. A threat of a thunder shower closed in fast and we needed cover.

The few solid abandoned buildings at Mystic enticed us to explore for a short five minutes before hard rain set in. We pulled out our sleeping bags and used the picnic tables as beds. The sun barely broke the horizon when Bob and I left.

Early morning fresh air filled my lungs as I inhaled deeply. I guess you could say I was in a “rolling meditation” moment. Certainly, God’s presence surrounded us. From tree filled bluffs to open ranch land, Bob and I had to take care to re-latch each gate we encountered to prevent cattle from escaping.

Bob and I took an overnight rest at Hot Springs. After encountering cold times along with a few warm streaks, it was a treat to utilize warm spring water to wash up a bit.

We reached Edgemont early in the morning for breakfast. Lively conversation from locals made for an interesting time. Bob and I then headed back towards Deadwood, starting out on the highway. The hill climbs were longer and steeper but we made better time. About halfway back, we merged onto the trail. It amazed us how different things looked going backwards.

Bob and I spotted a public campground and decided to camp there since it was getting late. We pitched our tent and then heard a woman and her young son invite us over to their campfire. Her son had a lot of questions about bike-packing.

Back at Deadwood the next morning, my adventurous spirit was filled with excitement. Bob asked me what I thought about my introductory bike-pack experience. My huge grin said it all.