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2024 Yearly Retreat | Sturgis, SD {Centennial Trail #1}

Moms, this is my yearly post to recommend a retreat. Just you. Somewhere new, or somewhere familiar. Just one night, or maybe two.

This is the third year I have taken a few days away from home to refocus, recharge and enjoy quiet.

In 2022, I spent a few nights in Lead at the Town Hall Inn- hiking, writing and creating art.

2023, I went East River to Platte, staying in a cute little Air B&B with a great little kitchen. I made a new pasta dish after walking the block to Platte’s delightful grocery store. I hiked along the Missouri River, taking in the migration of the snow and Canadian geese.

This year I went to Sturgis. I have never walked Main Street Sturgis and really have no desire to be there the first week of August, so the start of April was perfect. It was as expected, all rally related but for a few little boutiques and the cleanest bathroom inside a little deli/ice cream shop where I purchased freshly baked cookies to take home to my family.

I love exploring South Dakota towns and these retreats give me that opportunity.

I spent two nights at a lovely Air B&B in Boulder Canyon in a quiet neighborhood. It had everything I needed to do a little work, take an evening walk and fix some tasty meals.

Another reason for this retreat was to start hiking the Centennial Trail, a less traveled trail running from Bear Butte to Wind Cave for 111 miles. I have a thing for going north to south so started at Bear Butte and completed two “tours.” Tour 1: Bear Butte to Ft. Meade; Tour 2: Ft. Meade to Alkali Creek. I had several conflicting maps but am estimating I hiked about 11 miles.

If you’ve not been to Bear Butte before it’s an impressive butte north east of Sturgis, in the shape of a napping bear. There is a 2 mile trail to the peak that is quite the hike with incredible views! Bear Butte is a sacred place to Native Americans.

A dear friend gave me a shuttle to the Visitor Center at Bear Butte where I started south towards Bear Butte Lake.

The tour to Ft. Meade is very open with a few water tanks to fill up…if they’re running. Plan on bringing plenty of water, especially if the day is warm and there’s a bright blue sky.

This location is approximately four miles from where I started…I think. Again, the map’s exact mileage was rather unclear. Behind me, the trail dropped down into a valley crossing BLM land in the Ft. Meade Recreation Area. It was a long and hot hike, something I wasn’t expecting at the beginning of April.

At Ft. Meade, the trail changes from the openness of the prairie to the forest, meandering behind Ft. Meade past several historical remains, the cemetery and rolling hills. The trail climbs over 900 ft. from Ft. Meade to about where this above photo is taken with a view of the eastern side of Sturgis.

My desire is to hike this entire trail in 2024 in sections but after a minor foot surgery this month, I’m content to stretch it into 2025. 😉 Each month I hope to enjoy a different section, not necessarily in order and not always a long stretch. Should anyone wish to join me, let me know!

On the last day, I wandered down to Sheridan Lake in hopes of finding some late blooming pasque I’d discovered a few years ago. This trail is another section of Centennial Trail. I enjoyed a leisure stroll as the path wanders along the water’s edge.

Sheridan Lake is always peaceful when I’ve been there. During the week and in April, I had the trail almost to myself. I spent lunch perched on the rocks below, enjoying the breeze in my face and the sound of the gentle movement of the water. Just being alone with the Lord in the midst of His creation is renewing for my soul.

I returned home refreshed and excited about a surprise encounter, a photograph I will reveal at my July Open House. 🙂

I can’t stress enough how setting aside time to recharge is important. My husband encouraged me to do this several years before I started a landscape photography business. He’d gifted me funds to spend however I wanted on a retreat. I went to Devils Tower and hiked around the Black Hills.

Time alone is what refreshes me, that might not be your way but I encourage all moms to make time to recharge in what’s best suited for your personality. You will be refreshed and your family will be blessed. 🙂

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