Harney Peak is the highest point within the Black Hills and the highest point within South Dakota. Standing on the bald peak one sees more granite in all directions rising from the dark ponderosa pine forest. To the south, one ridge is named Little Devil's Tower and looks like its namesake in Wyoming. To the east, the prairie and plains stretch to the horizon.
The weathered granite of Harney Peak is very old, dating back 1.7 billion years when magma crystallized miles below the surface. More than 60 million years ago the Black Hills began to rise along with other mountain building going on around Wyoming and Montana. Erosion since then has worn off the covers of sediment from above to reveal the ridges, spires, and pinnacles of this massive body of granite.
The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.