Highs and lows

Farm Forum

A friend of mine once claimed that he got better gas mileage coming back east from the Black Hills than he did driving out.

He said that was because it was downhill coming back so there was less strain on the car’s motor.

He had a point, albeit a little blunt and on the silly side.

The highest point in South Dakota is Harney Peak out in the Black Hills. Some other mountains out there are nearly as high as Harney’s 7,242 feet.

The lowest point in South Dakota is on Big Stone Lake in extreme northeast South Dakota near the North Dakota border. Fishermen floating in a boat there are at 966 feet above sea level.

So perhaps my friend had a point. It is downhill from the Black Hills to Big Stone Lake. But with the lay of the land in between, I doubt if there are any gas savings.

By the way, the hottest spot ever in South Dakota, excluding our thriving hot spot gambling casinos, is the tiny town of Gann Valley south of Miller and west of Wessington Springs.

The day after the Fourth of July in 1936, temperatures there reached 120 degrees.

The coldest place in the state was in McIntosh west of Mobridge in February 1936.

That year must have been a real dozy out here on the flatlands. At McIntosh, it got down to mitten busting minus 58 degrees

South Dakota’s wettest place is, appropriately, in the saloon-filled little town of Deadwood, where the average rainfall is 29.99 inches. The driest spot is Ludlow in Harding County, which has an average rainfall of just 12.29 inches.

If you’d like to make a comment, e-mail the author at