Local writer authors 'Hiking the Black Hills Country, Third Edition', available now

HOT SPRINGS – Marcus Heerdt’s hiking guidebook to the Black Hills region is now available wherever books are sold.

Heerdt is a local author and photographer from Hot Springs who also works as a correspondent for the Herald-Star. He has been working on the book for the past two years.

After 4,097 miles driven, 422 miles hiked, COVID closures, hailstorms, an angry marmot, and lots of coffee and energy drinks, the book was completed and published by FalconGuides, an imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. The book was released on June 1, 2021.

FalconGuides is the premier publisher of outdoor recreation and adventure titles written by and for outdoor enthusiasts.

The guidebook features 58 hikes throughout Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, at Wind Cave and Badlands National Parks, Devils Tower and Jewel Cave National Monuments, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Bear Butte and Custer State Parks, as well as trail descriptions for the Centennial and Mickelson Trails.

“It was difficult to narrow down which hikes to include in the guidebook in less than 50,000 words but the final hike selection evenly distributes the hikes throughout the region. Also, the book includes a variety of trail lengths and difficulty levels. For example, the Lost Cabin-Black Elk Peak Loop is a strenuous 13.3-mile hike while the Elk Mountain Nature Trail at Wind Cave National Park is an easy 0.8-mile loop,” Heerdt said.

Each hike begins with “trail specs” such as distance, difficulty, elevation gain, and how to find the trailhead. There is then a detailed map and hike description along with miles and directions rounded to the nearest tenth of a mile.

Heerdt said he enjoyed working with the many individuals from the different public lands agencies and other organizations who provided insight and helped to answer his questions.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped make this book possible. I set up liaisons at each public land agency to ensure that their section of the guidebook was as accurate as possible. For example, Nickolos Meyers, who at the time was Chief of Interpretation at Devils Tower, and his staff read over the Devils Tower section and checked for accuracy. And I cannot thank Tim Cowman, State Geologist and Director of the South Dakota Geological Survey, and his team enough for agreeing to read over all of the geology references in the book to make sure that they were correct. Also, this book would not have been possible without the guidance and support of Katherine O’Dell, David Legere, and Lynn Zelem from FalconGuides who stuck by the project during a time of great difficulty in the world,” Heerdt said.

Hiking the Black Hills Country, Third Edition is available now online and in stores such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Locally, the book can be purchased at the Pioneer Museum and at the park store at Wind Cave National Park.

Fall River County Herald Star

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