Monday 1, Jun 2015

How green are the Hills? Amazingly green

The Black Hills are named because they appear as a dark horizon when seen from the surrounding prairies. But they are actually green. And this spring, the Black Hills are incredibly green. Coming out of winter, it seemed we were headed for a dry summer. But in May, it started raining. ... And raining.

In fact, the area received about 6.6 inches of rainfall in May. That compares with a normal May, which sees less than 3.5 inches of rainfall.

Now the sun is out, and the meadows of the Black Hills have blossomed with a verdant green. Wildflowers are everywhere, and the pine trees have taken on the dark green that gave this region its name. Some of the deer actually look plump.

Amazing.

The water is finding its way into lakes and streams throughout the Black Hills. Pactola and Deerfield reservoirs just west of Keystone are 100 percent full of their storage capacity — more than 100 percent, in fact. Spring Creek, the quiet little stream that was flowing at the rate of 60 cubic feet per second in June 2014, is roaring through Keystone at 320 cvs this week.

For visitors to Keystone, the upthrust is that you will will be greeted with the fresh smells and brilliant greens of a forest at its most verdant. There are great photo opportunities around every bend.