“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – We Climbed That Mountain

We Climbed That Mountain

I had wanted to climb Bear Butt Mountain for many years. It was about five miles out of Sturgis South Dakota. Donna and I first saw it in 1949 when we spent our honeymoon in the Black Hills.

I have been riding to Sturgis since 1972 and every year I said I was going to climb that mountain. During the rally and races in Sturgis it is almost always hot outside, if it’s not hot out it is poring cats and dogs sometimes there’s even hail. With all the odd weather it is not the best time of year to climb a mountain.

There are always so many other things to do at the rally, even after twenty- nine years. Each year there is something new, new riders, old riders many I’ve been riding with for years. In fact I sold most of the riders their Harleys and have become really good friends with them.

It was May 1992, my good friend Tom Rufud needed a new Harley, he was unable to buy one in South Dakota. I had been staying at Tom and Connie’s home for many years. I got their beautiful new, black, FLHS it was just the bike Tom wanted. So Donna and I loaded it into our pick up and headed for Sturgis. Russ had been managing the store for years so there was no problem leaving. We had a good trip threw Montana and into SD our Toyota pick up was running beautifully. It is only 1075 miles, most people think it’s much farther then it really is. They must get lost on their way, but 1-90 goes right through Sturgis. We unloaded the new Harley and I started it up, it ran beautifully. We stayed at Tom and Connie’s for a few days. One beautiful day we all went for a ride, Tom and Connie, Wayne and Patty Renolds, and some of the other riders. We had a super good time it’s nice riding through the hills this time of year as there are not as many people. During rally time there are just too many riders, last year over one million in a ten-day period. They claim the average rider stays three days then moves on their way to
see all the other beautiful things in SD and the West.

The day after the ride I told Donna it’s nice outlets climb that Mt. I had already filled two big jugs and one small one with water. Sturgis had good water, comes right from the Mt. We headed up that trail; kids were running by us like wild horses. It was some kind of holiday, about every 200- 300 feet we’d stop and rest. The higher up we got the steeper the trail. We thought about quitting several times, but we both knew if we didn’t go all the way this time we’d most likely never try again. The kids would just run by us like they were playing some game, but when your that age climbing a mountain is easy. When you get sixty-five and older things start to change. After a few hours and most Of the water gone we could see the big platform on top. The last 100 feet or more the trail really got steep. We had to practically crawl up the last fifty or one hundred feet to the big wooded platform. We finally made it; we were on the deck. I asked one ranger how in the world did you get all that lumber up here to build this deck? The ranger said no problem, helicopters. You are supposed to see three states from up there. It all looked the same to us. We took some pictures, looked around again from up there, but one state looked like the other. After about a half-hour I asked Donna if she was ready to go down again. Donna she’s always ready to go. We were at the bottom before we new it; this reminds me of a time in Arizona. One winter our grandson Tony came down to visit us. He wanted to climb some big hills so Donna and I said OK. We climbed one big one; I got so high I couldn’t go any further. Donna keep going with Tony, soon she gave up. She started down and all of a sudden she feel on her bottom. She came sliding down so fast I couldn’t believe it. When she finally stopped sliding she was OK but those shorts were completely bottomless. Tony kept going; he went so high we could hardly see him. We took some pictures of him and pleaded with him to come down, he did. But if we hadn’t pleaded he’d have kept going tell he reached top. The joy of being a kid. Donna and I had fulfilled another mile in our life. We had concurred the mountain.

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