(Deadwood, South Dakota)
On February 14, 1884, when Theodore Roosevelt was 25 years old and a New York legislator, his wife and mother died, only hours apart. Devastated, Roosevelt abandoned politics and struck out for the Dakota territories where he had first visited as a lad to help cure his asthma. This time he hoped to rebuild his body and restore his spirit with the hard work of ranching. After a blizzard wiped out his prized herd of cattle in 1885, he returned to eastern society.
Roosevelt’s legacy in the Dakota Territory is memorialized in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where dogs are not allowed on the trails. A better choice would be Mount Roosevelt in the Black Hills where Teddy was a regular visitor. In his spare time out West Roosevelt worked as a deputy sheriff hunting outlaws. When bringing in a horse thief one day he met met Black Hills Sheriff Seth Bullock, beginning a lifetime friendship.
When Roosevelt died in 1919, Bullock lobbied to get a favorite peak, Sheep Mountain, renamed Mountain Roosevelt and worked tirelessly to construct the nation’s first monument to the great man on its summit, even though he himself was close to death. The cylindrical stone “Friendship Tower” was dedicated just before Bullock passed that very same year. Now part of the Black Hills National Forest, the Mount Roosevelt Trail winds in a loop to the summit - an easy romp for your dog even though the entire hike is over one mile high.
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