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  • J.F. Rowan

The Black Hills of South Dakota! Part 2

Having found what we felt was a great camping spot, we planned to stay put for at least four days. Days were spent hiking, biking and just generally exploring our surroundings.

If you remember, we got to this place with the help of a neighbor that owned a small ranch along one of the access roads. We had turned around at the end of one of the roads and stopped to speak with him on the way out. But the place we turned around is what is important here.

It was the end of a road that had a driveway peel off from the end, leading through a field that had to have been at least 300 acres. We didn’t pay much attention to it at the time because we were concentrating on finding a spot to camp.

But Yvette went off for a hike one day and ended up at the dead-end again, this time having much more time to observe. As it turned out, the driveway leads to a ranch which was not only gorgeous but owned by a very interesting individual named Dave Synder who not only had a great ranch but also designated a large portion of his property to a place he named Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary. Their website describes it, “Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary is a quiet, safe, sacred place where visitors can spend time walking, sitting, contemplating, reading, writing, reflecting or healing in the natural landscape of the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota.”

But you don’t have to necessarily be spiritual to be able to take in the beauty of this place. It’s amazing. We both walked through portions of this space and it was breath taking Several points of interest within the area where one can stop, breathe and listen.

The entrance to Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary.

Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary- This is one of the first points of interest one sees as you drift through the extensive path system here.

I could not get much closer, but there are 7 wild mustangs, which the owner rescued from the Cheyenne Nation that will live the rest of their days living in peace here.


The Seven Sacred Horses

"The young Lakota did not have the land or the financial means to honor Sitting Bull’s request and to fulfill his vision. A young woman was told about this vision in October of 2007 while visiting the herd of wild horses on the reservation near Faith, South Dakota. She felt compelled to find a home for the seven horses. She requested that they be kept at the ranch near Lead, South Dakota upon which Pathways now exists. Two days later the seven stallions were transported to the ranch. Chief Sitting Bull’s request was honored and the young man’s vision was fulfilled."


As it also turns out, the ranch is also home to the 7 Sacred Horses. Seven mustangs that Dave rescued from the Cheyenne Indian reservation. He takes care of them on his ranch where they are isolated and where they will live out their days roaming through hundreds of acres stress-free. And all of this was less than a mile from our campsite. It was a very good find indeed.


In memory of a granddaughter.

During another walk, we discovered something else near our camp. Walking up on the ridge, we came across a large pile of stones at the end of the ridge, facing east. The pile of stones was about 6-7 feet tall and intermingled with the stones was a long string of small led lights which were wired to a solar panel. A tree near the monument held a piece of flat stone that someone had painted a landscape on along with a name. At night, the string of lights would blink on and off. We could just make out the lights from camp. As it turns out, it was a monument that a nearby neighbor had made over several years in memory of a grand daughter they had lost. You just never know what you'll find.

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