Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Our Monumental Trip Part IV!

We did a tremendous amount in these four days!!
We left Billings, MT on September 12th (Abigail's Birthday!), and stopped in Wyoming to visit with Darin Gilbertson.  When Whitley was a dorm director, Darin was one of his R.A.'s. Now Darin coaches football in Sheridan, WY.

Beautiful snow on the Bighorn Mountains and foothills...

We then made our way to Devil's Tower, America's first National Monument.  It is such a site to see!

There are climbers up there!

Practicing to be climbers too!

Twenty years ago, this guy....

 climbed Devil's Tower four times...

There he is, working hard on the Bon Homme Route in 1994!

Reaching the top!

It was really fun to hear his stories and for him to get to show his family one of the amazing places that he got to summit!
Click repel to see Whitley talk about a repel his team had to do in the dark.

We walked the 1.3 mile trip around the tower:

The kids actually standing on a lower part of the tower.

Our cabin for two nights in Hill City, SD

Right outside the cabin door

Mt. Rushmore!!

This picture CRACKS me up because of all the squinted grimaces!  Bright morning sun!!

Snow patch at Mt. Rushmore
 We went on the Iron Mountain Highway.  The following picture is of a very interesting read if you are into that sort of thing.  But if you aren't....... let's just say there's a good reason why these are called Pigtail Bridges.  Curly... Very curly! :o))

Have to wait your turn through all of these tunnels, ladies and gentlemen!

The engineer designed the roads so that when you drive through many of the tunnels, you see Mt. Rushmore!
Of course, my phone's camera didn't pick Rushmore up, but they do keep the trees trimmed down so you can see it when you come through them.

Speaking of tunnels, Whitley took the video of this one as he was driving through it.  He's braver than me because I was constantly watching to see if we needed to fold our 15 passenger van's mirrors in! Tight squeeze, folks!!

We got lots of great pictures at Custer State Park, so here goes!!
Entrance into Custer State Park

Just inside the entrance of Custer State Park, we had some lunch.  I was very thankful for the Coolidge Convenience Store that sold pizza!  How did they know we were coming? ;o)  Right across from that parking lot were some tables near a creek.  We all had a great time in such a pretty place!

At the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center, we let the kids see a program about the park's bison.  
These pictures were taken while we were waiting for the program to start.

Inside the Visitor's Center

The speaker for the Buffalo program put on a play... starring the kids!

And maybe me for a moment?

Andrew played the part of a rancher

After the program, we went on the park's Wildlife Loop.

The kids loved how close this guy got!
Here's a video

Wild Donkeys in the park

Wild the sign said?  Yeah, right!!

The Needles Highway

We went on a "little" hike (!!!), to see THIS:  
The Tricouni Nail Spire that Whitley also climbed 20 years ago.
It is called the Cerberus route, rated at a 5.8 for difficulty.  It is located in an area called Ten Pins on the Needles Highway.

another view of it that shows the three points on top of the needle that gives it the "tri" part of its name

Seriously... He climbed it!  I know because I'd recognize this bottom (that he gave to our kids) from anywhere!!  ;o)

Picture of the YEAR, I think!  

Climbers in training!!

What an amazing site/sight! The Cathedral Spires

We saw two different spots that weddings had been or were being held on that day.  This one was on Sylvan Lake.  Both were great places and what a beautiful day for such an occasion!

Crazy Horse!  

We loved this place and hearing the story!

You can see the outline of the horse that they will eventually work on.

Wild Horse Sanctuary:  

Home of 600 mustangs, currently!  They told us they were getting too close to capacity right now.

Video  "Horse! Horse!"

This one was my favorite that I saw.

Looking towards ranch headquarters

Oh.... this picture!  Makes me giggle!!!! Maybe it's Timmy being suspended by the neck?

Well, those are special, wild-horse chickens!

And wild-horse turkeys!


Hot Springs, South Dakota

When doing our research for the trip, Whitley thought it was odd that a Budget Host in Hotsprings, SD was one of the highest reviewed places in the town.  So of course, we had to find out why!!  Not only did they have their very own miniature golf course you could play at for free with your stay, the service and friendliness were so great!  When the manager is also your host, it's kind of unusual!  When we walked in for breakfast, he made sure to ask, "Did you rest well?  What will you be going to see today?"

This was across the street from the hotel!  So beautiful...  We had to go there!

Green, green. GREEEN!

Mammoth Site!

Isaac getting to let everyone see and touch the replica of mammoth teeth.  Video here.

We got this for Andrew for his birthday!

On our way South, we stopped in Edgemont, South Dakota to have lunch.  While Mama ordered it, the kids played here.  It was really beautiful there too!  Whitley wants to show you this video.  What a neat place!

We had lunch within walking distance of the park in Edgemont.

We then headed to stay with our family in Greeley, Colorado.  

Cute, cute video of Terry & Timothy putting away the dishes in Greeley!

The next day was the long trip back to Snyder!

So glad you could stick around and enjoy pictures of our trip with us!  We saw so much, had a great time, and were ready to be home when we got there!!  We are very thankful for the blessing of homeschooling and the blessing of Whitley's job and schedule that allowed for such a Monumental journey!  The following week, we did more traveling!  We went to a TaeKwonDo campout and a mini-family reunion in New Mexico.  I hope to post about those soon!

Love from our family to you and yours,