The South Dakota Bucket List

Posted: Monday, June 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I, like thousands of other subscribers, anxiously await the arrival of my South Dakota Magazine every other month. It’s been that way ever since the magazine first hit the stands 25 years ago.

On many occasions, I’ve stolen ideas from its pages for Lund at Large stories; a fact I have confessed to owner/publisher, Bernie Hunhoff, who actually told me he’s flattered not upset…so I’m at it again.

 sd magazine cover

In the May/June issue, S.D. Mag. is helping to celebrate its silver anniversary by publishing a “bucket list” of sorts featuring 25 things every South Dakotan should try to do while we’re still on the grassy side of the dirt.

This should be a snap, I thought. I’ve lived here all of my life and worked in a profession that involved reporting on people and events from all corners of the state.

But, according to the magazine’s criteria, I only score in the “novice” category because there are lots and lots of things left to experience.

For example: I have never danced at a Pow wow, or paddled a canoe on the Missouri River or been to the continental divide where water from Big Stone Lake drains South to the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf of Mexico while water from Lake Traverse flows North into the Red River and eventually ends up in Hudson Bay. I have seen our state flower, the Pasque, growing in the wild and have caught up with Tom and Ruth Neuberger romping around the county in their “Goosemobile”..which is a meat market on wheels featuring home grown foods and free range fowl. Can’t say I’ve ever dined on any of their goose offerings, though.

I have never actually heard corn grow. Apparently it’s possible but the one time I tried to record the noise for a story, the typical South Dakota wind was howling making the test impossible. I may try it again in the next few weeks when there’s a calm day. Yeah, right!

I’ve seen them but have never built a “Stone Johnny” which amounts to piling rocks on top of each other for no apparent reason and leaving the stack to puzzle those who eventually stumble upon it.

I have crossed Garretson’s Devil’s Gulch Bridge which spans the Sioux Quartzite gorge over Split Rock Creek. The outlaw Jesse James supposedly coaxed his borrowed horse to jump across the 20 foot chasm to escape the pursuing posse following the Northfield Minnesota bank job.

It took me a long time but I finally rode the 1880 train from Hill City to Keystone and back. Did they ever build that railroad between Rapid City and Deadwood? That would be a fun ride.

I’ve never spotted any of the 66 bright blue tiles among the thousands that make up the mosaic floor of our state capitol building in Pierre. But then, I was never looking for them either. I will the next time I’m there.

When I was thirty years younger and a hundred pounds lighter, I wanted to climb to the top of Harney Peak. I think I was outvoted by my kids, though, when I explained that it was a half day trek and the reward would be a grand view of the Black Hills. They were more interested in the Flinstone’s Park at Custer.

I don’t remember howling like a coyote on a quiet summer night  in order to get one to howl back. Come to think of it, the only coyotes I’ve ever heard howling were in Arizona..where they’re called Ky-oat-tees.

I haven’t played poker in Deadwood. But I have lost a bundle there playing blackjack. Does that count?

I have donned October orange and hunted pheasants. That was back when my uncles had farm fields to walk and you could also road hunt. Now I don’t think I could afford the fees some charge for the privilege.

I have owned a boat in my lifetime. I have also been stranded after that boat broke down in the middle of Lake Madison, Lake Alvin, Lake Vermillion and West Lake Okoboji.. 

I’ve never tried to rope anything with a lasso. I roped Linda into marrying me but doesn’t count.

I have driven Needles Highway many times but on our last trip to the Hills, our friends said they’d never taken that route so we did and it is still as long as I remember but fun just the same.

I’ve never been part of a branding crew and really have no desire to.

Nor would I care to see or hunt South Dakota rattle snakes and tell stories about it. Seeing any kind of snake in the wild would be enough to induce lightning feet and a massive heart attack

I’ve never done any gold panning in the Black Hills. Plan to do some at one of those tourist mines in Alaska this summer, though.

I have caught Walleye..although not near as many as everybody else in the boat. I still don’t know how to clean fish though but love the catching part.

I’ve not stargazed in the Badlands on a crystal clear night but imagine it would be great fun because it’s one of the darkest places remaining in all of America; perfect for appreciating the heavenly bodies that have guided ancient mariners and inspired poets,  painters, song writers and lovers since the beginning of time..

I have walked 41st in Sioux Falls and have spied bald eagles on the wing along the Missouri River near Yankton.

I’ve also enjoyed a county fair and highly recommend the one in Turner County each August for that old fashioned fair going feeling.

Well, how’d I do?

Eleven out of 25.

Uffda. Time to hit the road.

Maybe I can tag along with Bernie on some of his future South Dakota adventures so I could experience these places first hand and not have to steal from his wonderful magazine.


  1. SQUIBBY says:

    Got the mag for my mother as a Christmas gift this last year, we all LOVE IT!

  2. grouse says:

    Cousin Doug, once again I’m going to boost your score so that you’ll look a lot better and can hold your head up high and not feel like a doofus.
    First off, you may not have actually paddled a canoe on the Missouri, but you did have drum set with a distinguished native American gentleman paddling a canoe on the bass drum. To make the point even more legitimate point, there was light bulb inside to illuminate the event. ANOTHER POINT!
    Secondly, you lamented that you’ve never howled at the moon. Remember, we used to take our electric guitars (my Fender, your Silvertone) out your back step on hot summer nights and practice singing and harmonizing to rock and roll songs of the day. The elderly neighbors called it howling (and who knew the sound of coyotes better that they did). ANOTHER POINT!
    Closely related, was the night we were out back with the guitars howling at the moon, when two lovely, charming native American girls who were staying with a Volga family for the summer stopped by. They liked our tunes, and even danced together while we played. Lovely native American girls dancing in the moonlight…Well, I’m calling it a Pow Wow! ANOTHER POINT!
    Next on the list, roping with a lasso. It may not have been from the top of a horse, but we did take our hand at roping little calves with mom’s clothesline rope in the cattle pen. (Notice that I didn’t call it a corral, because we were just east river farmers, not glamorous west river ranchers.) When we couldn’t rope the calves, we roped our little brothers. ANOTHER POINT!
    Next on the list, the Stone Johnny! We may not have called it a Stone Johnny. We may have just acted like non assuming Norwegian stock and called it a god damned rock pile, but surely you helped pick rock on that north field by the road, that had to have skimmed the top of some submerged mountain just below the surface. We piled that rock at the bottom of a hill to the west of the house. After a good winter’s snowfall, it made a great launch down the hill for a sled jump. ANOTHER POINT!
    Now, I’ve done my best Norwegian, Journalism major math, and according to my calculations that gives you another FIVE POINTS!
    What’s the score now? I’ll bet the hot shots at South Dakota Magazine are green with envy.

  3. Sweeps says:

    Hi, Doug! You’ll have a chance to try to find those blue mosaics in the Capitol floor if you and Linda and all your friends come to Pierre on Saturday, June 19. Big things going on, from eating to entertainment, for the Capitol Centennial Celebration. 147th FA Military Band, some of the original members of Red Willow, dancers, lots of stuff! We’re sprucing up our town to welcome you!

  4. Neale says:

    Your cousin Grouse is the Greatest! Love his comments.

  5. Heidi says:

    So glad you took the test…and did pretty darn good! For those who don’t get South Dakota Magazine yet, you can read this feature online at Thanks Doug! You’re an all-around South Dakotan in our our eyes!

  6. […] Dakotan to us. Popular broadcast legend Doug Lund took our test and analyzed it nicely in his Lund At Large […]

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