Th’ Gaussling is off-site for a few days of happy motoring in the mysterious Black Hills of South Dakota, or Paha Sapa in Lakota. 

The discovery of Black Hills gold in 1874 by an expedition led by General Custer and the 7th Cavalry ultimately triggered another bout of  hostilities with the Lakota as the land deeded to them by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was pushed aside by miners and settler. Government agents were not able to prevent mining and settlment of the Black hills area. 

The blowback to Custer’s discovery of mineral wealth in the Black Hills was in the form of his defeat by Sitting Bull at the Little Bighorn River in Montana in late June of 1876.

The locals now mine tourists rather than gold.  The homestake mine has workings at 8000 ft below the surface! Over 1 billion dollars worth of gold was extracted between 1877 and 2004. Presently in the process of being set up for underground labs, the Homestake Mine in Lead, SD, will reopen in the coming years as a center of particle physics and dark matter research as the Sanford Underground Laboratory. Part of a program known as DUSEL, the new labs will exploit the great depth of the Homestake mine for the inherent radiation shielding at the lower levels of the site.