top of page

G2 Peaks Trip 5 – 6 Peaks (13/50)

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

North Dakota – White Butte

G2’s grand adventure – a 9 day road trip through 10 states and knocking out 6 peaks! Andrea, Dana and I met in Minneapolis on April 21, 2021 and hit the road in the van towards Sauk Center, Minnesota. Let me tell you, no one ever needs to go to Sauk Center, and that’s not the only time I’ll mention not ever needing to go somewhere again on this road trip haha! We got to Sauk Center around 10pm and went to check in to our “historic” hotel called the Palmer House. We couldn’t get anyone to answer the door and started to get worried, then Dana saw a light and tried the kitchen door and this creepy guy came out and with basically candlelight helped us check-in. This was a haunted hotel – literally. People would come to Sauk Center to stay at this haunted hotel, but that wasn’t exactly our intention. In the lobby were these creepy life-sized dolls and odd mementos. The whole place was covered in an old floral wallpaper. Of course, he gave us room 13 in a haunted hotel!!! We asked if he could give us a different room number and it was a hard no. People usually requested to stay in that room!!! There were 2 full size beds and my room was the one with a bathroom that only had a curtain instead of a door. Very interesting place. Anyways! We dropped our bags and headed out to find a bar and meet some locals. We succeeded. We ended up at this dive bar that happened to be the oldest bar in Minnesota – who knew?! Our bartender, Mike, gave us all the details we needed to know about Sauk Center. Basically no one ever leaves, and they are all obsessed with fireball (WTF = where’s the fireball?!), but it’s also the home of Sinclair Lewis. We had a couple beers and an unwanted fireball shot then headed to bed hoping for no unintended ghost stories the next day. We woke up safe and sound, packed up and headed to go get the girls in Fargo, ND. We picked them up around 11am in Fargo and drove to see the World’s Largest buffalo and had a blast taking photos and exploring the Old West scenes set up around the area. After playing around with the buffalo we continued on the Enchanted Highway to see the metal sculptures along the way. We only stopped at a few, but the coolest was actually the worlds largest metal sculpture in the shape of flying geese. This was actually a very cool roadside attraction. We continued onward and stayed at the Rough Riders Hotel in Medora, ND. One of those places I MUST go back to someday!! They had an amazing library of history books and information on Teddy Roosevelt. Unfortunately, the Teddy Roosevelt restaurant in the hotel wasn’t opened yet since it wasn’t quite season.

We dropped our bags again and went to dinner at the only place open in town. The restaurant was exactly what you’d expect. The waitress was rough around the edges, lots of beef (buffalo) and beer. The girls are always looking for guys for me, so they had their eye on a table next to us. Little did they know, I had my eye on them too and realized they were all couples and most definitely not interested in girls. Most of the girls went back after dinner and Dana, Andrea and I had a fun time talking to locals and being silly. We headed back at a reasonable time, but never without laughs.

We woke up the next day with amazing breakfast sandwiches that the hotel had for guests and hit the road for the peak. White Butte was about 1.5 hours from Medora in a remote area. The hike was very cool – elevation 3,506’ and about 4 miles. We got a little lost on the hike because the trails weren’t marked very well, but it was a fairly simple hike and not strenuous at all. It was cold and had a little snow on the ground, but nothing that we weren’t prepared for. The views, per usual, were beautiful! Once we got back to the van we bet this guy, Brian Lisle, who now wants to hike Montana with us! He is G2’s biggest fan now! Super nice guy. Off we go to South Dakota.

South Dakota – Black Elk

South Dakota is absolutely one of my favorite states and for sure my favorite part of this roadtrip. After we left North Dakota we stopped to take pictures at the SD sign and it was snowing as we ran across the highway for the photos – oh the things we do! We stayed in Custer, SD and had the absolute best time. Custer is a very cool and trendy town that has become quite popular the last few years. We stayed at an Airbnb and showered and got ready for the night. we had dinner at the most amazing restaurant – LITERALLY – one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to called Skogen. Truffles, Buffalo steak, just so many delicious things! The chef is from California and of course we had to take 100 pictures with the poor guy. After dinner we went to Custer Beacon for karaoke and drinks. Oh what a night. Egan got up there and sang. Then I, with my terrible voice, got up and sang Backstreet Boys “I want it that way” which is always a fan favorite. A few people got up with me, which made it fun. Then Dana, Andrea and I overstayed our welcome and I got back on stage to sing Garth Brooks “Callin’ Baton Rouge”, which made for one of our funniest memories. Mean Dana (comes out after 10pm) was upset that she didn’t know the song and gave me the “cut” signal and kept yelling NO ONE KNOWS IT! I kept going, but drunk Lane wasn’t happy about it. Granted there were only 2 people watching me, my 2 friends LOL. Then Andrea and Dana got up and sang “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction, which was equally as bad. Well mean Dana, mad Lane and Andrea headed off to another bar, of course the Oldest Saloon in the Black Hills. Here it didn’t get much better. I’m talking to this guy we appropriately named Gumby, while Dana and Andrea played on the juke box. Then Gumby decided to get up and dance with his flailing arms and accidentally elbowed Andrea in the eye giving her a black eye! You can’t make this stuff up.

We got up early the next day for a fun day ahead. We met our tour guide a little bit outside of town for a Badlands bike ride tour. He was so cute and nice. On our trek out to the Badlands we stopped at Wall Drug, which is a famous old roadside attraction in South Dakota. We had a snack and walked around before getting back in the van. Something I didn’t know about South Dakota is that it’s home to the Minuteman missiles. The Great Plains region in SD is considered the shortest distance to the Soviet Union, the sites were away from the coastlines to give more warning time in submarines were launched, and very sparsely populated area = less lives directly at risk. This was VERY cool and fascinating history I didn’t know about previously. After our trip down memory lane, we were off for our epic bike ride.

Our guide gave us road bikes to ride about 20 miles through the park. It was fabulous. The hills were intense, which made for some fun leg burns. We saw so many prairie dogs and big horn sheep. The rocks are just stunning, a rugged type beauty, with steep canyons and towering spires. It’s called the Badlands due to the rocky terrain, lack of water and extreme temperatures, which make it challenging to traverse or use. This was such a fun day exploring a new National Park! After the tour we stopped by to go see Mt. Rushmore at night, which was just amazing. This has always been on my list to see and truly was even cooler seeing it lit up at night. After snapping some photos it was back to Custer we went and of course back to the Custer Beacon for a more tame evening of dinner and live music.

Our final day in South Dakota was even better than the others. We hiked up Black Elk, which is 7.1 miles and 1460ft elevation gain. This hike was so cool. It was fairly snowy all the way to the top, but we were prepared with our microspikes, gaiters and winter gear. It wasn’t a challenging hike, but the views at the top were spectacular. 360 degree views of snow covered trees and mountains. Just stunning. There was a nice observation tower at the top where we stopped to rest and have some lunch before our trek down. On the way down we went a little off trail, but it was so worth it. The rock formations were very interesting and unique. Really gorgeous and well maintained trail! What an amazing time in South Dakota – I don’t think any of us realized how much this great state has to offer!

Nebraska – Panorama Point

We were off to Nebraska from South Dakota. We can’t pass up a roadside attraction, so we stopped at what’s called “Carhenge” in Alliance, Nebraska. It’s a replica of England’s Stonehenge, but made of 38 cars all from the 1950s and 60s and rescued from nearby farms and dumps. This was a fun stop and possibly the best part about Nebraska 😊. We got to our motel in Kimble, NE late and stopped into this psychedelic bar/restaurant. What a strange place. The owner was also the waitress, bartender, hostess and cook. It was an interesting crowd that kept growing once word got around there were 11 females in this place. Even the owner told us we shouldn’t stay long after we had eaten. We went back to the motel soon after to lock our doors and get ready for a long drive the next day.

We got up and started our trek to Panorama point. This peak wasn’t much of a peak, but was on a bison farm truly in the middle of nowhere. We drove our van for about 2 hours on dirt roads with nothing but farms and windmills. The highpoint wasn’t much to see except a small monument and bench. We love each peak differently in their own way!!

Kansas – Mt. Sunflower

After we drove on dirt roads to NE, we drove on more dirt roads to get to Mt. Sunflower in Kansas. It’s just fascinating driving through these tiny towns of 130 people with nothing to see. We finally made it to Mt. Sunflower, which was the sweetest high point. It was another drive up, but they had decorated it very cute with metal sunflower décor and even had a small library where I gave the book I had just finished “Firefly Lane” and we all signed it to leave. We were off to Springfield, CO for one of the best dinners of the trip! Kira reached out to the people that own a restaurant called The Dish Room and they opened just for us! They are the only restaurant from Kansas City to Denver and it was fabulous. They had an amazing outdoor firepit area and the food and drinks were great. We really enjoyed our time here and meal to fuel us for the rest of the trip.

Oklahoma – Black Mesa

Oklahoma was probably one of my least favorite peaks. It was a nice sunny day, but I can’t say the hike was particularly pretty. Very dusty, dry and incredibly windy. It is an 8.5 mile out and back trail with only about 700ft elevation gain. It was not a challenging hike, but the terrain and win made it challenging. The peak was SO windy we all felt like we were going to blow over. We took our photos then made the (seemingly) long trek back down. I can now understand what people are referring to when they say talk about the dust bowl or just how windy that part of the country is. The drive out of OK was also incredibly windy. We had two injuries on this roadtrip – one black eye from gumby (previously talked about) and one from tumbleweed as we were taking a photo with the Texas state sign.

Texas – Guadalupe Peak

Our first stop in Texas was to stay in Amarillo, where we had an amazing AirBNB and went to a great dinner and night out on the town. We picked up one more girl in Amarillo, Anny! Our first stop the next day was to see Cadillac Ranch, another amazing roadside attraction we couldn’t miss! We were starving so stopped for Mexican food before hitting the road for a long drive to Carlsbad, New Mexico. We knew we had a long day the next day so stopped by Walmart for some last minute gear and then slept early.

Guadalupe Peak was a fun one. It was a beautiful day, so Anny and I hustled up the mountain. We hit a little rain on the way up, but wasn’t too bad. It’s an 8.4 mile out and back hike with 3000ft elevation gain. A good steadily steep hike, which is what I like! By the time we got to the top it was snowing and freezing! We had been sweating on the way up, so it was really challenging to warm up at that point. A few other girls got there, so we made a little fort and had some lunch to wait for the rest of the crew. We ended up getting a great group photo with so much snow coming down! A great memory for sure. Then we hustled down back to the van for our final evening out for a grand road trip!!

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page