Moonshine Gulch Saloon
If my visitors ask to see Mount Rushmore, I hand them a map. But if they
want to get to know the Black Hills, I take them to the Moonshine,” Crane says. The
Moonshine Gulch Saloon, just off the Rochford trailhead, has been around since 1900.
Trail users stop for a solid meal and an ice-cold drink, propping their bikes against the
porch or tying their dogs to the railing. In the summer, riders from Sturgis pause in their
expeditions to watch the slow traffic pass.
In Good Company
Leaning on his twisted pine walking
stick, floppy hat pulled low over his eyes,
Crane smiles and points to a bridge far
below. “This is the ‘In Good Company’
bridge,” he says. The painting to which
he refers matches the scene tree by
tree, detail by detail. Once a section of
the Burlington Northern Railroad, the
Mickelson Trail corridor was an aban-
doned rail route that had fallen into disre-
pair. In 1997, when plans were announced
to create the trail there, Crane knew this
meant the loss of his privacy. But later he
realized that sharing his driveway with
thousands of trail-lovers would be a good
thing. He even helped raise funds for the
trail. “In Good Company” is one of two
paintings Crane donated to the cause.
Sales of the original and subsequent prints
raised more than $100,000 and helped
make the trail a reality.
A Gift of Solitude
The bit of trail captured in this
painting is about four miles from Crane’s
house, toward Rochford. The second of
his Mickelson Trail fund-raising paint-
ings, it expresses the nature of solitude,
something often forgotten in our culture
of dense development and crowded urban
The George S. Mickelson Trail offers
miles of wonder. Jon Crane’s portrayals
open a window to see the trail through
his artist’s eyes. But to really experience
the Big Mick,” visit it yourself. Walk,
bike, run, cross-country ski, meander.
However you approach the trail, you
will be inspired, mystified, energized
and comforted.