By Emily McIntyre
Visit the trail near the ghost town
of Mystic and you may meet Jon Crane
pictured above right), world-renowned
watercolorist. Crane has lived here since
and his driveway is the Mickelson
Trail. He and his wife, Gail, reside in a
log cabin they built themselves, with a
enture onto the
and you plunge into the
heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota. The scents of pine and
fresh mountain air fill your lungs, and breezes whisper through
the pines. The occasional cyclist rides by, the bright clothing and
shiny machine flashing against a natural backdrop of multilayered
granite, bark, needle and twig-covered hills. The 109-mile
rail-trail stretches over more than 100 converted railroad bridges and runs
through four rock tunnels. It flows in the embrace of the tallest mountains
east of the Rockies, giants honeycombed with abandoned gold mines and
tunnels, and laced with history.
Wild Mystic Rose
Crane found this blooming rose near
Mystic, where he and Gail were married.
His portrayal captures the essence of the
Black Hills: At once fragile and enduring,
the thorns and beauty of the rose are
equally displayed.
small, light-filled studio out back where
the artist creates his delicate yet detailed
renderings of the surrounding landscape.
He has painted the George S. Mickel-
son Trail many times, from many angles
and in all seasons. Here are four of his
trail portraits.
South Dakota