What looked like the shortest, easiest route to the Triangle Park area on SPHP’s old USFS map hadn’t panned out. The map showed an improved gravel road going WSW from the long abandoned Lauzon School at a sharp turn along County Road No. 769 (Dewey Road). Instead, Lupe had arrived to find nothing but a faint dirt road heading W across a pasture. It didn’t look like anything that would prove hospitable to the G6.
No problem, right? Farther S was another possible, if longer, access route. USFS Road No. 120 headed N from County Road No. 769 about 1.5 miles E of Dewey. Actually, it was kind of a problem. Although Lupe and SPHP drove almost all the way to Dewey, USFS Road No. 120 seemed to be another of the map’s fictions. SPHP saw no sign of it.
A couple miles back to the E, there had been a flat little field where there was an old water tank and an older windmill. Overhead a large power line ran E/W next to County Road No. 769. There had also been a place to turn off the road and park. The map, if it could be believed, showed that this was USFS land. It seemed like the only realistic option, if Lupe was going to make it to Triangle Park.
So, Lupe’s Expedition No. 166 began from near the old water tank and windmill (9:50 AM, 47°F). As the crow flies, Lupe was starting 3.5 miles S of Sullivan Peak (4,967 ft.). As the Carolina Dog sniffs, it was likely to be considerably farther. Sullivan Peak was one of 3 peakbagging objectives Lupe had around Triangle Park.
The first thing to do was to get up on the long, high ridge that extends S from Sullivan Peak almost all the way down to where Lupe was beginning her trek. SPHP started hiking NW toward a low forested ridge at the W side of the field. Right away there was trouble. Lupe wasn’t coming. Her nemesis was here! There was cactus in the field.
SPHP returned to examine Lupe’s paws. She was OK. Somehow Lupe, knew cactus was around, though. SPHP tried to persuade Lupe to follow very closely, so SPHP could help her avoid the cactus. No luck. The American Dingo just didn’t want to go.
Not a very good start, so far. SPHP looked around. There was a fair amount of cactus in this field. SPHP decided to just carry Lupe over to the forest, which wasn’t too far away. Lupe’s spirits rose a little in the forest, but she still didn’t want to move. SPHP put her leash on her. It worked! Somehow, Lupe found the leash a bit comforting. She started following SPHP. The leash enabled SPHP to guide her around the cactus without mishap.
Lupe and SPHP headed N through the forest, climbing steadily up the low ridge. The climb became steeper, but before too long Lupe reached the S end of a higher ridge. The higher ridge was broad, grassy, and sloped gently up to the N. The big field was rimmed with trees. To the E there was a thin line of trees near the edge of a cliff.
SPHP hoped there wasn’t any cactus in the big field on the high ridge, but it was soon apparent there was. Lupe had to stay on her leash, so she wouldn’t run into any of it. Lupe and SPHP marched N near the E side of the field. Sometimes there were places with big views to the E from the nearby cliffs.
Near the N end of the field, Lupe found a road. She was quite content to trot along the road, and not venture off it. SPHP took her leash off. The road went N beyond the field, passed by a small section of forest, and entered another big field that was more rolling and scenic. Lupe and SPHP continued following the road N. Maybe this was the fabled USFS Road No. 120 that would take Lupe close to Sullivan Peak?
After passing through the second big field, the road curved around to the E of a little hill before turning NW away from the cliffs. From the little hill, another higher ridge could be seen to the N. The higher ridge sloped gradually up to a much higher point than where Lupe was. Maybe that was Sullivan Peak?
Lupe and SPHP left the road to stay close to the E edge of the ridge near the cliffs. Lupe and SPHP climbed steadily, but the going was slow. Off the road there was cactus. Even with her leash on, sometimes Lupe wanted to be carried. In some places, there was quite a bit of deadfall timber. Lupe found herself at some pretty dramatic viewpoints as she gained elevation.
The high ridge Lupe had seen from the little hill was NOT Sullivan Peak. The ridge went farther and farther N. Lupe came to big areas that had completely burned in a forest fire years ago. The deadfall timber and cactus made for an icky, slow trek, but the views from ever higher along the cliffs became steadily more impressive.
A big notch in the ridge forced the cliffs to bend around it to the W. Going around the W edge of the notch, Lupe came to an area where the forest hadn’t burned. Lupe was quite happy to find a road going through the living forest. For a little while, she ran around without her leash again.
Soon this road going through the living forest turned NW, too. Once again, Lupe and SPHP left the road to stay not too far from the cliffs to the E. Lupe had to climb up through a section of rocky, moderately steeper terrain. A little past where the ground leveled out again, Lupe came to another big burned area. Finally, she had a view of the real Sullivan Peak!
Lupe and SPHP continued N through the devastated forest, with Sullivan Peak now within reach. There didn’t seem to be any cactus around up here, so Lupe got to explore a little without her leash on. She didn’t seem to think there was any cactus, either. She ran around, expending a lot of energy leaping over all the dead trees.
Finally, Lupe was there! She reached the top of Sullivan Peak. The dead forest was ugly, but the resulting 360° views were wonderful!
There didn’t seem to be a survey benchmark, but a round metal pin somewhere between the size of a quarter and a half dollar had been cemented to the rock next to the highest rock on the mountain.
When Lupe went over to see the view from the NE end of the summit ridge, it turned out there was a survey benchmark on Sullivan Peak after all! It was located about 12-15 feet NE of the metal pin.
Lupe and SPHP took quite a long break up on Sullivan Peak. Lupe had water and Taste of the Wild. SPHP enjoyed the views. When SPHP got out a chocolate, coconut granola bar, Lupe was eager to help make it disappear!
There were lots of beautiful views from Sullivan Peak, but SPHP’s favorite was N toward Wildcat Peak (5,500 ft.), the Elk Benchmark (5,669 ft.), Twin Buttes (4,949 ft.) and Triangle Park. Lupe seemed equally happy with all the views!
Lupe’s next peakbagging goal was Red Point (4,680 ft.) at the E end of Triangle Park. She had seen it far below from the NE end of the summit ridge on Sullivan Peak. Red Point looked so small and insignificant, SPHP was amazed it was even a named peak. It was just a small hill compared to Sullivan Peak, and it wasn’t even red or pointy. Nevertheless, Lupe and SPHP headed N down to Triangle Park to go visit Red Point.
When Lupe made it down to Triangle Park, she had to cross part of the huge field to reach Red Point. Once again, Lupe sensed cactus. SPHP had to use the “checking the maps technique” developed on Expedition No. 165 to get Lupe to come. It worked again! Lupe came racing across the big field.
It only took 5 or 6 minutes to climb Red Point. From a grassy open spot on the S side of Red Point, Sullivan Peak loomed high above.
Lupe’s 3rd and final peakbagging goal for the day was Twin Buttes (4,949 ft.), about a mile to the WNW on the other side of Triangle Park. As Lupe left Red Point to head over there, she became very excited. She saw a huge herd of “Giant Deers” (elk)! The Giant Deers had already seen Lupe and SPHP, too. They were beating a hasty retreat N into the trees and out of sight.
The Giant Deers were gone in just a few seconds. Lupe and SPHP continued WNW across Triangle Park aiming for a ridge to the right of a high point E of Twin Buttes. There was a very faint road, which gave Lupe all the confidence she needed to cross most of the field on her own. However, when it ended at an intersection with a better road entering Triangle Park from the NE, she wanted to be carried again.
Since it wasn’t much farther to the base of the ridge, SPHP carried Lupe over there. She was happy again climbing the ridge under her own power. Up on top of the ridge, there was a road that went SW between Twin Buttes and the high point to the E. The summit wasn’t far away! Lupe didn’t hesitate, even when it was time to leave the road. Lupe climbed right to the top of Twin Buttes.
Climbing from the E, Lupe had reached the summit of the highest of the Twin Buttes right away. The E butte gradually lost elevation along a long summit ridge as it went W. It was clear the views would be best from there. Lupe and SPHP trekked over to the W end of the summit ridge. The view was really awesome! Lupe could see far into Wyoming. The border was less than 2 miles away.
Although the lower W butte was in view not too far away, there didn’t seem to be any reason to go over there. The view was better from the higher W end of the E butte. After peering far into Wyoming, Lupe and SPHP went back to the true summit at the E end of the easternmost of the Twin Buttes. At the high point, Lupe and SPHP took another break. Once again, Lupe was most helpful when another chocolate, coconut granola bar was foolish enough to make its appearance.
While Lupe and SPHP were still relaxing at the highpoint of Twin Buttes, the Bluebird of Happiness came to pay Lupe a visit. Lupe and SPHP did feel happy, even after the Bluebird of Happiness flitted onward to parts unknown. Lupe and SPHP left the summit to go take a look at the world from the high point just to the E of Twin Buttes.
It was a long way back to the G6, and the sun was saying it was time to start heading back. Lupe and SPHP returned to the road between Twin Buttes and the highpoint to the E. SPHP’s old USFS map said this must be USFS Road No. 118. It would eventually tie in to No. 120 more than a mile SW of Sullivan Peak.
Lupe and SPHP followed No. 118 SW only partway down a ridge on the W side of Triangle Park. Then Lupe and SPHP left the road, turning SE to get down there more quickly. Once down in Triangle Park, Lupe continued SE straight for Sullivan Peak. She passed by a little to the E of a pond at the W end of Triangle Park.
Lupe knew there was cactus around. Even so, she was OK trotting along some faint animal trails. SPHP only had to carry her for a final short stretch to the base of Sullivan Peak when the last animal trail faded away. Lupe climbed all the way back up to Sullivan Peak under her own power, completing her 2nd ascent of the day!
Although it was getting sort of late, Lupe and SPHP lingered for a little while on Sullivan Peak again. The splendid views were hard to leave behind. It was time to go, though, and there was a need for some speed.
Lupe and SPHP left Sullivan Peak heading S, retracing the last part of the route Lupe had first taken there. By now, SPHP was convinced that the first road Lupe had reached early in the day really was USFS Road No. 120. As soon as she reached it again, Lupe and SPHP got on it and stayed on it almost all the way back. Traveling the road was a lot faster than trying to dodge cactus and burned out forests.
Since No. 120 mostly stayed well to the W of the cliffs along the E edge of the high ridges Lupe was on, she didn’t get to see the same big views as earlier in the day. However, it was still a beautiful evening trek beneath blue sky and white clouds sailing by overhead. Lupe was happy being on the road. She enjoyed trotting along sniffing the air. Much of the time, it was possible to see far to the SW into Wyoming.
Back near the S end of the big field on the last high ridge, No. 120 turned SW into the forest, just as SPHP’s old USFS map indicated it would. It would have been fun to see where it came out, but following No. 120 to the end would have added another 0.75 mile just to reach County Road No. 759 (Dewey Road) again, plus an extra 0.75 mile backtracking on No. 759.
Leaving the last high ridge, Lupe wanted to be carried to avoid the cactus. SPHP carried her down, but didn’t stay far enough E to find the most direct route back to the G6. As a result, the terrain ended up forcing Lupe almost straight S until she reached No. 759. An easy, cactus free stroll to the E for 15 minutes on No. 759 brought Lupe back to the G6 (7:38 PM, 47°F).
Lupe’s Expedition No. 166 turned out to be a big success! Red Point had been a bit disappointing, but both Sullivan Peak and Twin Buttes had been wonderful. Even though they aren’t particularly high peaks for the Black Hills, their remote location near Triangle Park on the far SW edge of the Black Hills made them both dominating high points. The forest fires, which made the peaks themselves rather ugly, had totally opened up the panoramic views.
Lupe didn’t think about any of that. She was ready to go! The sun was down, but the sky was still light. Lupe rode joyously in the G6 standing with her head out the window, tongue hanging in the breeze. She let every cow, horse, deer, and haystack she passed along the long, winding gravel road know that an American Dingo coming through!Want more Lupe adventures? Choose from Lupe’s Black Hills Expeditions Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index. Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.