spiritual retreat center education

Borderlands Education and Spiritual Center carries out its summer activities at Borderlands Ranch, located on the Pe Sla, the heart of the heart of the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, 16 miles from Hill City, near the tiny community of Deerfield. Homesteaded at the turn of the century, Borderlands offers a peaceful and nurturing environment amidst 135 acres of high prairie, forest and limestone cliffs.

Many First Nations peoples consider the Black Hills to be the spiritual center of the universe. Various spiritual traditions reflect the belief that certain phenomena in the world, such as mist – which is neither air nor rain; dreams – which are not waking or sleeping; and mistletoe -which is neither tree nor plant, have special spiritual meaning. These are the "in between things" that are worthy of special reflection. The name 'Borderlands' comes the Celtic spiritual tradition and refers to the place where the earth meets the sky -where one entity encounters another.

Considering reconciliation, we refer to the borderlands as the place where one part of the created order meets another, where different cultures meet -where we can break through the boundaries of our world and communicate with that which is beyond all that we have previously known. In the Black Hills, you will find the place where the prairie finally rises to meet the dark mountains that are the home of ancient spirituality and where together they join the sky.

Thousands of acres are available for hiking and a 114-mile long rails-to-trails recreation trail can be reached just nine miles away. There is swimming, fishing and canoeing at Deerfield Lake, raspberry picking in August and horseback riding year around. Snow sports abound in the winter, including sensational cross-country and down hill skiing. Rock-climbing, trail rides and traditional horse-drawn sleigh and wagon rides are available nearby. Badminton, basketball, volleyball, croquet, board games and horseshoes are available at the ranch.

Borderlands Ranch, just one hour away from the Rapid City Regional Airport, offers small group space indoors with sleeping space for up to twenty people, or large group space camping outdoors. The facility includes the two bedroom, two bath, guesthouse with a galley kitchen, covered porch and deck. Guests also enjoy parts of the main house including the library, the Great Room with cathedral ceiling and wood-burning stove, a country kitchen, several decks and a hot tub. A turn of the century log cabin and corrals for your horses are also available.

Nine miles from Borderlands one can hook up to the Mickelson Trail that follows the historic Deadwood to Edgemont Burlington Northern rail line through the heart of the Black Hills. The International Mountain Biking Association has issued South Dakota an "A" letter grade on the 2000 IMBA Report Card -one of only two states to receive an "A" for the quality of state's trails.

With its gentle slopes and easy access people of all ages and conditions can enjoy the trail that has more than 100 converted railroad bridges and four hardrock tunnels passing through mostly national forest land. The trail surface of crushed limestone and gravel, which packed hard has the appearance of coarse sand or fine gravel, invites mountain bikes, horses and hiking boots. Cross-country skis work well when it snows. Trail users 12 and older are required to purchase a $2 daily or $10 annual trail pass.

The trail is capable of hosting two or three cyclists abreast and although it ascends from 3,400 to 6,100 feet in elevation, there are no sudden, steep grades up or down. A hiker or bicyclist will be greeted by meandering mountain streams, waterfalls, creek-hugging willows, huge ponderosa pines, skyscraping Black Hills spruce, delicate aspens, lofty hills exposing sheer granite outcroppings, wildflowers, a variety of wildlife and four remarkable train tunnels.

Overnight camping is under the stars along the trail and supplies can be obtained in several small communities along the way. Transportation to and from the trail is provided by Borderlands. Bicycle rentals are available in several communities near the trail.



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