My story this week for New York Times, “High in the Black Hills, as Seasons Turn,” covers Harney Peak, a mountain that marks the high point in the state of South Dakota. But more significantly, the summit, at 7,242 feet, is taller than any other American peak east of the Rocky Mountains. (You have to cross an ocean to find a taller mountain — in the French Pyrenees.)
This story, in the paper’s Escapes section, covers a hike to the top I did a year ago with my friend and photographer, TC Worley. A storm two days before our visit had dropped more than three feet of snow in the woods, blanketing boulders and trees, and burying trails that I had plans to hike. “All routes to Harney Peak are packed with snow,” a state park ranger warned at the check-in gate. “We don’t advise hiking.”
I parked the car and pulled out a map, its topography a fit of shapes and lines jumping on the page. I held a compass out to get a bearing. Advisable or not, we were set on hiking that afternoon.
Read on for the full story, “High in the Black Hills, as Seasons Turn.”