After 77 miles of riding through the Black Hills of South Dakota, @_mk and I explored a long forgotten military base south of Edgemont, SD. The Black Hills Ordnance Depot is a 33 sq. mile complex with a pretty interesting history. The base is now private property and we weren't supposed to be there.
We found that out after we left.
There were some modern vehicles and trailers around, so we knew someone was there on some level, but at the time, we thought maybe they were reclaiming the base as farmland, what with all the cows running around. But it was equally likely there's a meth lab involved somewhere, so we were a little on edge. Middle of nowhere, creepy failing buildings, no people around except for the ones who were — and then there's us sneaking around in a hatchback with two bikes on top.
Not obvious at all.
Right next to the base is the army town that used to house all the people who were stationed at the base. The town used to be everything you'd expect out of a well-planned community. Churches, schools, a hospital, a swimming pool. It's also basically abandoned now, but we couldn't get to it as the bridge was condemned. Pretty sure the only people there were the ones working on fixing the bridge. Which leads to an abandoned town.
We tried to get to the town, but hit a tall barbed wire fence and a locked gate. We turned back and continued exploring in the other direction.
The whole thing looked like a scene out of True Detective.
As we drove back to actual civilization to catch some beers, we did a little research on what we had just seen. As it turns out, the base was not only a storage facility, it was later used to test Sarin and Mustard gas before it was abandoned in 1967. It's a fascinating area and I'd love to go back and fatbike around for an afternoon.
With permission this time.
More about the Black Hills Ordnance Depot.