Friday, July 20, 2012

South Dakota!

Oh how we love vacations!  And a Stoddard vacation is ALWAYS a good time.  This trip to South Dakota was no exception to that rule.  My parents were talking about going to Mt. Rushmore even before we knew we were moving up here, so it worked out nicely.  We met them at our home-for-a-week; Horsethief Campground.  That night we got pizza and went to Rushmore.  No one but Tanner had ever seen it before, and I thought it was really cool!  They did this little lighting ceremony at night - a little speech from a park ranger, a video about the Presidents and why they were chosen to be on the mountain, and some other very patriotic type stuff.  It was actually really cool.  I felt quite proud to be an American :)  It's pretty impressive how they made it and that they even made it and that not one person even died while creating it. 

 Tuesday was a glorious hiking day.  We decided to hike the highest peak in South Dakota.  Sounds pretty intense, huh?  It really wasn't too bad.  It took us  most of the day, but we had some fun along the way.  (Tanner told me I can't post tons of pictures on the blog, so I'm trying to keep it at a minimum.  We got LOTS of really fun ones, and my parents have half of the great ones so this is just a teeny little taste). 
On top of Little Devil's Tower

This little guy was like 3 feet off the trail and didn't seem to care people were walking right by him.  Pretty cool. 
So beautiful!  I was really surprised at how gorgeous everything was around there.  The whole week was a wonderful dose of some much needed mountain time for both of us!  It was really cool how there were all these hills and then just sporadically there'd be these cool out-croppings of rock formation things.

Wednesday was cave day.  Tanner and Laura and I had our turn for our intense wild cave spelunking tour.  Apparently it's the toughest tour in all the national park system.  And it was intense.  We had to prove we'd fit through this little cement box that was 8.5 inches high and 24 inches wide before they'd even let us go through.  There was all manner of squeezing through tight sp!aces and climbing up ropes and squirming on our stomachs up and down and around and through.  It was so incredibly awesome!  There was a lot of really pretty and super cool stuff down there and it was just a fun challenge.  I was so proud of Tanner for conquering his fears for the day of small, confined, tight spaces. You can tell by the look on his face that he was about .00009 seconds away from completely snapping and killing any and everyone who was in the cave with him. I think the only thing that kept him from doing so, was he needed to know the way out  It was definitely a claustrophobic's nightmare.  But when it was all said and done, so much fun!  The rest of the group did another cave tour and then the other half did that wild tour on Saturday while Laura and I went on another hike.  Tanner had left Friday for Salt Lake for some family events (that unfortunately got canceled, but he still got some good golf in and it was great to see his family for a short time).

Thursday we went horseback riding and did a pretty scenic little drive.  Friday we got a pontoon boat and spent the whole day on a reservoir a little north of where we were camping.  So much fun.  We had a slide off the boat and it was glorious and relaxing.  I was bummed Tanner had to miss it all, but we still had a great time.  

My mom has all the great pics of boating.  My battery was almost dead.  Perhaps I'll have to put more on Facebook or I'll squeeze a few more in here when Tanner isn't looking :)
And these last pics are of Sylvan Lake.  It was pretty close to our campsite, and also is in the movie National Treasure 2.  Yep, we were we're practically superstars now :)  It was such a gorgeous lake!  It had a nice path around it that we strolled around.  My dad and Kathryn and I swam in it one evening.  Heather and Shane climbed around it.  And Laura and I did a hike from here Saturday.  And this is where we started our big long hike from.  It was a good place to be, for sure!

Then I drove home with my family Saturday and met up with Tanner for some fun family time on Sunday.  Dinner all together and fireworks at Weber State and lots of great playing with the nieces and nephews.  Family is awesome and we miss them already.  It was fun to come home to our little family with our doggies though :)  And now we're back to work (and Tanner is getting ready to start his new job in about a week) and we're already looking forward to the next vacation!  

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