Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Wink Ranch, Part II – Welded Art Sculptures in Lemmon and Rock Climbing in Spearfish, South Dakota


Prairie moon over Wink ranch, July 2020.

My week on the ranch overflowed with too many wonderful times to fit into a single post. We took a few days away from the ranch and went to Mobridge (the town where Mom grew up), Lemmon, and Spearfish, SD. Even by South Dakota standards, Lemmon is remote—close to the North Dakota border with a population of 1,989. Lemmon is the hometown of John Lopez, one of the premier welded sculpture artists of the world. We have wanted to see his sculptures and after a day in Mobridge, we headed back to the ranch via Lemmon. We were not disappointed. We loved Lopez’s incredible art at The Kokomo Gallery. Check out his website for professional photos of this artwork, stunning detail.

Custer’s Last Stand

Tree of Life

We headed to the Grand River Museum to see more of John’s work. For those familiar with the movie The Revenant, the film is based on the life of Hugh Glass. We discovered the 200-mile journey Glass walked after being mauled by a grizzly and left for dead, took place along the prairie lands, rather than the mountains portrayed. Here is the piece photographed in full glory.

Delightfully surprised to find Meadowlark on the shelf in the book store and right next to one of Linda Hasselstrom‘s books—perfect!

Earlier in the day, we’d been to Mobridge and saw another of Lopez’s pieces, Fishing Cowboy.

With Mom.

Lots of surprises in this small town, including the Petrified Wood Park, including dinosaur claw marks and bones.

Petrified Wood Castle

Spearfish Canyon of the Black Hills shines as one of the true treasures of South Dakota. Mom’s maternal grandparents, Grammie Lucille and Grampy Dave, lived in Spearfish. I have memories of playing in the water ditch that ran along their house as a child with my cousins. Spearfish is a jewel of a college town nestled right at the base of the Black Hills. This is where the prairie sharply ends and the green forested carpet of the hills begins. On Very Special Days on the ranch, we get cleaned up, put our town clothes on, and head for Spearfish.

Spearfish Canyon

I had two Very Special Spearfish days during the week on the ranch—one when Wyatt and Natasha took me rock climbing and another with Mom, walking the green paths and picturesque downtown. As we find ourselves sticking close to home due to the pandemic, a bit of art, greenery, and liquid beauty for us all.

Spearfish Canyon

For those who know Wyatt, he lives to rock climb. Wyatt never crawled. He stood up at nine-months and started running and climbing everything in sight. He hasn’t stopped since.

Wyatt climbing.

My first time climbing outdoors. I knew my guy wouldn’t let me fall.

Then a beautiful hike along the trails. I was taken with the gorgeous bark of the trees.

Mom and I returned a few days later for another Very Special Day. We walked the trails, strolled the picturesque downtown, and visited the fish hatchery. Mom playing in the stream.

Considering I was only on the ranch six days, we made the most of every minute.

I needed to leave far too soon. Time there filled my spirit and I’m already hoping to make it back this fall. The photo of the full moon over the dam made me think a song that Mom used to sing to us, and often still does, when there is a full moon. Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SXi1Xvi7Mk



Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

11 thoughts on “Wink Ranch, Part II – Welded Art Sculptures in Lemmon and Rock Climbing in Spearfish, South Dakota

  1. Beautiful photos. I love the prairie landscape and am so thankful when I can go home. Spearfish has such beauty. Milesville, SD is very near their place and where I grew up.

  2. Dawn: You found true beauty revealed in every photo. What a refreshing week. Now back to the stress of daily life?

    • Dear Jagrout—Thanks ever so much for connecting on all here. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the beauty and the photos. I loved being there and taking them. Grateful to share.
      A hug,

  3. Delightful. It must be so hard to leave!!!
    Spearfish is a joy. Years ago, my Girl Scout troop camped at the city park in Spearfish for several days. We attended the Passion Play, the story of Jesus, in an amphitheater there. Then we moved on to other destinations in the Hills, camping at Horsethief Lake and at Sylvan Lake.
    And a few summers later, I worked at Sylvan Lake Lodge!
    (I grew up in Sioux Falls. Meredith Machen and I are second cousins.)

    • Dear Judy,
      It WAS hard to leave! Very hard Love that you had such wonderful memories in Spearfish. Mom and I walked through that city park, so I can just visualize all of your Girl Scout tents there.
      Thanks ever so much for taking the time to connect and for sharing such lovely memories!
      Please say Hi to Meredith for me. 🙂
      With gratitude,

  4. Thanks for sharing and educating us on that beautiful part of the country!! I so appreciate your photos and posts! Wading in the ditch was always the best part of summer fun!

    • Dear Charotte, thank you so very much for reaching out to connect! I so appreciate you’re dong this – makes a world of difference to me. Love that you, too, waded in the ditch in the summers! 🙂
      Love and hugs,

  5. Dawn, again one of wonderful posts – have sent to several people who need it! Wish everybody in the world was like you – love, Tove

  6. Great pics, Dawn! Pete is in the care home in Tucson and unfortunately going down hill. I’m at home and don’t do Facebook. But I somehow got to see this post. What luck! Love to your Mom and Dad. While I’m not good online, texting and phone calls on my cell or home phone (520)212-3343 are greatly appreciated. Ev is now home and while I miss her, it was high time for her to be home. All Love,Delight

    Get Outlook for Android


    • Dear Delight – So good to hear from you! Thank you so much for writing with this update. Thank you also for your phone! Glad to know phone calls welcome. I look forward to connecting via phone. Much love! Dawn

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