Monday, June 20, 2011
The Black Hills
For years now we have been talking about going to Mt. Rushmore -- after all it is a mere 6 hours away! Our friend, Gavin, has spent the last several years telling us that Mt. Rushmore and Wall Drug is "on the way." He never really said where it is on the way to, so we decided to make it our destination. We were excited to go with our dear friends the Hansens, Paynes, and Allreds. We all have a fantastic time and everyone had a friend to play with.
On Friday we headed out, caravan style, driving up through Wyoming and into South Dakota. We drove through Custer State park. There we saw multiple herds of buffalo with their babies and got to feed apples to the burros. The park was BEAUTIFUL! The exciting moment finally came when we drove through the tunnels and caught our first glimpse of Mt. Rushmore.
In addition to Mt. Rushmore itself, we made sure to visit the incredible sights of the Badlands. It was fun to hike around and the kids had a blast exploring. On the way home we stopped at Wall Drug for some lunch (and doughnuts and pie) before racing back for a chuckwagon dinner. We also took all kids to Old MacDonalds Farm, a petting zoo. The kids had fun and there was the most exciting pig race I had ever seen (I was rooting for Sausageawea). :)
I think the highlight for the kids was staying in a hotel that had a 102 foot waterslide. One afternoon we took a break from sightseeing and played in the pool. I don't know who had a better time on the waterslide, all the kids, or the dads.
As we made our way home on Monday we took the scenic view through the Needles. what incredible views! I wish we could have taken more time and done some hiking through there, but we had tickets for a tour at Jewel Cave. Ken was able to take Morgan and Trevor on a more extensive tour of the cave while I stayed with Peyton and Cooper.
Our last stop took us to the thriving Metropolis of Guernsey, Wyoming. Our friend, Shane, served there for a time on his mission and showed us a spot on the Oregon Trail where the wheels of the covered wagons had worn into the rocks. The wheel ruts are still there. We also went to a spot along the Platt River where people traveling along The Trail had carved their names into the rock.
It was a great trip, one many years in the making. There were so many things that we didn't get to do that we are already looking forward to going back!