Wow I wanna hear about this
It was very good and Diana was there too! Will post photos soon :)
Here are photos and a write-up :) http://felixwong.com/2016/05/a-backpacking-trip-in-the-black-hills-of-sd-black-elk-wilderness/
Felix, thanks for the great write-up on this hike. I am planning on taking a very small group of older Scouts to do a 3-day backpacking trip, and I think this agenda was great. The question I have is, how did you decide where to actually camp for the night? Did you need permits, or did you just sort of pick out a good spot that you saw as you backpacked?
Hi Noall. We had decided in advance to camp at Sylvan Lake the first night; the second night, we went about as far as we could about 30-45 minutes before it got dark. At that time, we started looking for a random spot 15 or so feet off the trail that was relatively flat to pitch our tents and was fairly near water (streams) for cooking and hydrating.
Regarding permits, I am not sure if they are strictly required, but at Sylvan Lake there was a registration form (free) a trailhead that we filled out. I didn't see any at the Willow Creek Trailhead we started and ended at, but there might have been.
I seem to recall that camping anywhere was permissible except for within 1 mile of the Harney Peak Lookup Tower? I am not sure if I am recalling correctly but I think I read something about that on the Internet and it may be worth researching further.
Felix, thanks again for that info. We have begun putting together some details about our upcoming trip. One other question for you: did you find that water was plentiful along the route? I have read a bunch about being careful with the water, and of course we will plan on treating it properly, but were there plenty of sources? I took my family up to Little Devil's tower last year, and know a bit about that specific area, but not much about the rest of the area.
Yah, there were many streams to filter water from. The Sylvan Lake Area also has a spigot in the parking lot.
Have a great trip over there! Wonderful area.