Sioux Falls ’30 Minute Road Trip’-Devil’s Gulch
A thunderstorm rumbled to the southwest. I stood on the bridge, my mind raced, wondering what it must have felt like. The adrenaline pumping, a horseman, hell-bent for leather, riding a horse lathered up and laboring, hoping this back trail would help him escape. I could almost hear the posse, close behind and could envision his brother, already on the other side. The rider knew he had but one chance to escape and once again elude those who were close behind, if his mount could just make; the jump.
We've all heard about the shot heard around the world, back in the day, the lore of the times, told around campfires was that of the Outlaw Jesse James, who had recently robbed a bank in nearby Northfield, Minnesota. Let's split up he'd shouted to his cohort in crime and brother, we'll be harder to find. The sign reads;
When James came to the famous ravine, yawning wide before him, unsure how long the ravine is he coaxes his horse to jump. The horse, brave and true makes, the jump.
That jump is a huge part of the story of Jesse James. James had taken on the almost role of Robin Hood. Historians believe James and his gang stole nearly $300,000 from banks, stagecoaches, and trains. This escape can be found with a quick car ride, less than 30 minutes from Sioux Falls. Garretson is a quiet little town in eastern Minnehaha county. It's also home to Devil's Gulch, home of the famous jump that Jessie James made in 1876.
I had made a trip to Garretson to see the chasm earlier this year, but that section of the park was not yet open for hikers. Speaking of hiking, bring a good pair of shoes and get ready to take some time easing your time down and up the trails around Devils Gulch. The cuts in the landscape and the rock formations so familiar with Sioux Falls and the surrounding area are spectacular. All of this, all of this history literally sneaks up on you and suddenly appears when you reach this portion of America.
It's all there, just 30 minutes from Sioux Falls. Stop by one of the local stores for a cool drink or something to eat on your way out of town. I've lived in Sioux Falls for nearly 30 years and had heard of Devils Gulch but just saw it for the first time. Load up the car and see where Jesse James and his horse made the leap.
Do you have a place people should know about? You know, a place that's close, within 30 minutes of Sioux Falls, that most people have not witnessed? Let me know and I'll feature 'that place,' in the next 'Sioux Falls 30 Minute Road trip.' You can email me anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org
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