Black Hills - Sacred Lands, Sacred Stones

2023 Daily Itinerary

With guest journey leader Alexandra DelGaudio

Day 1 – Sunday, August 20

Tour registration, hotel check-in, welcome dinner

Arrive and check into the secluded and rustic upscale Spearfish Canyon Lodge, surrounded by pine trees and nature trails. This peaceful destination will be our ‘home away from home’ for the week as we explore the Black Hills area.

Tonight, we gather for a welcoming dinner with our group.

Group welcome dinner included.

Day 2 – Monday, August 21

Crystal shopping, Black Elk Peak Hike, morning seminar, intention circle, Boxed Lunch, Sylvan Lake, group dinner

Chaco CanyonThis morning after an introductory seminar, we start our journey at one of the area’s best local crystal shops, where you will have a chance to purchase a crystal of your choice that will serve as your personal talisman and communication device for the week ahead. Among the many stones and gems found in the region, the Black Hills are home to beautiful and abundant Rose Quartz Crystals. Referred to as the “Heart Stone” in many parts of the world, Rose Quartz is known for its strong feminine energies. As your talisman, your crystal will be energized in the intention circle Alex will lead for the group at the base of Black Elk Peak. After our intention circle, we will hike the moderately challenging trail to the summit of Black Elk Peak, the highest peak in the mid-west, where Black Elk received his Great Vision. We will enjoy panoramic views of the Black Elk Wilderness below and commune with the expansive and peaceful energy of the peak.

Before heading back to the lodge for a group dinner, take the opportunity to cool down by the shore at the spectacular Sylvan Lake.

Boxed lunch, snacks &; water, group dinner included.

Day 3 – Tuesday, August 22

Badlands, restaurant lunch, Rapid City art galleries and boutiques, dinner on own, evening Star Talk.

This morning we will take a scenic drive through the rugged, otherworld beauty of the dramatic Badlands National Park. As we depart the Black Hills, you will notice the verdant landscape give way to a spectacular maze of jagged canyons, sharply eroded rock formations, and windswept buttes.

The Lakota call this region: ”Mako Sica,” meaning “land bad”, due to harsh environmental conditions such as ravaging winds, drought, and erosion from ancient flooding that formed the wondrous landscape. These same factors are responsible for creating the colorful and bizarre formations, gorges, spires and pinnacles that the Badlands are famous for. Considered to be a sacred place by Native American Tribes in the area for thousands of years, we will listen for the stories carried by the winds from the ancient Stone Beings and marvel at the beauty around us.

After a group restaurant lunch, we will continue to the vibrant downtown of Rapid City where you will have an opportunity to browse its numerous art galleries and boutiques.

Upon arrival back at our lodge, and dinner on your own in its onsite restaurant, we will gather again before bedtime, for a special evening star talk, led by Alex.

Restaurant lunch, snacks & water included.

Day 4 – Wednesday, August 23

Mt. Rushmore, restaurant lunch, private face-to-face tour of Crazy Horse, group dinner.

Chaco CanyonThis morning we will visit Mt. Rushmore National Memorial to view the 60-ft.-high granite faces of former U.S. Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. We will continue to the Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest mountain carving. This impressive and ambitious work depicts Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse (“Tasunke Witco” in Oglala Lakota), riding a horse and pointing toward his tribal land.

Spending the afternoon here, we will enjoy a restaurant lunch onsite, and come face-to-face with this monumental work of art for a private tour.

These iconic stone carvings are true marvels of human ingenuity. While contemplating the divergent histories, perspectives, and controversies that surround the construction of both monuments, we will explore the relationship between human consciousness and the consciousness of Stone Beings and how humans and nature co-create together.

Enjoy a group dinner on the way home.

Restaurant lunch, snacks & water, group dinner included.

Day 5 – Thursday, August 24

Wind Cave, boxed lunch, Custer wildlife loop scenic byway, group dinner.

This morning we will set off for the lesser-known treasure that is Wind Cave National Park, referred to in modern Lakota as “Maka Oniye”, or “breathing earth”. This 33,000-acre, wild preserve and protected prairie hides one of the largest and most complex caves in the world. It is also a place of deep sacred significance to the Native Lakota people.

Prior to descending deep into the bosom of the Earth, we will hear the beautiful Emergence Story of the Lakota People. Below, we will be awestruck by the unique geological formations, the soothing silence, and enveloping darkness of this majestic underworld, where it remains a cool 53 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

As we ‘emerge’ from the cave and back into the light, we will pause for a boxed lunch onsite, before driving the breathtakingly beautiful Custer Wildlife Loop Scenic Byway through 18 miles of rolling prairie grasslands and gentle hills, peppered with pines, in search of the majestic and protected, 1,500 strong free-ranging bison herd, pronghorn, deer, elk, and feral donkeys that inhabit the park.

NPS Photo

This evening, enjoy a group dinner together.

Lunch box, snacks & water, group dinner included

Day 6 – Friday, August 25

Devil’s Tower National Monument, boxed lunch, farewell group dinner

Leaving early this morning, we will travel across the Great Plains through grassland, canyons, and forested hills, from South Dakota to Wyoming, arriving at the astounding geological formation of Devil’s Tower National Monument (Mato Tipila), known as "Bear Lodge,” by the Lakota People.

Depicted in the iconic Steven Spielberg film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” as a site for extraterrestrial contact, Devils Tower/Bear Lodge, is a sacred site to the Indigenous People of the region, and has an intricate cosmology that weaves together the mythologies of both our human and Star ancestors.

We will enjoy a picnic boxed lunch together onsite, and further exploration of this captivating location, including its Star Lore, before gathering for our final farewell dinner on the way back to our lodge.

Breakfast-to-go, lunch box, snacks & water, group dinner included.

Day 7 – Saturday, August 26

Check out on your own.


Note: Itinerary subject to change.
© Itinerary property of Gathering Light Journeys