Please, don't judge a book by its cover and automatically assume that South Dakota is a punishment or icky state. It really is rather lovely and it holds lots of memories for me.
Anyhow, yesterday was the first official day here, but we mainly spent it sluggishly attempting to shop and sleeping. I'm telling you, flying red-eye, especially the route we took, just took the life out of you!
So to begin afresh, we decided to spend our first "wide awake" day here in the wilderness, with a proper hike.
There are a lot of gorgeous hikes here in the hills (you only call me when it's half past five… casually quoting The Weekend because I can't resist) and the weather was stupendous that after a hearty breakfast, complete with coffee, we were out there ready to go just past nine, which is rather early considering our family!
Today, we explored the trails of the Cathedral Spires. Well, besides the company of my family (minus Dad, who's back home in Alaska for the first part of the trip… we just can't tear him away from fishing!) and my grandma (who we can't keep up with!), we had the pleasure of Jan Conn, who happens to be a world renown climber and caver, best known for her work in the discovery of Jewel Cave (and also 91 years old), as well as a gal named Bridget who owns an outdoorsy shop in Rapid City. We had quite the crew, and quite the hike!
And look what we ran into! A momma and baby mountain goat right off the bat.
What a day..
Miraculously enough, we had nature's best right at our fingertips. Fresh raspberries for the taking- we didn't even need to pack snacks!
I myself was rather fond of all the wildflowers..
Mom and Grandma!
Manton and Shebs..
That sisterly love..
Anton, as it turns out, is quite the mountain man. He would run off up ahead and crawl up these giant cliff faces, only to scare us on his climb down! But I was there to catch him… on camera.
I hope I'm half as active and fit as my grandma someday!
There he goes again..
Alyeska even went up on those rocks!
I enjoyed it too.. until I noticed how far up I was! Yikes!
Alyeska and I don't share much.. but we do share logs.
And of course, being the stylish woman I am, I found myself this all natural wood ring! Thoughts?
Now on the way there, we took the traditional trail. But we were in the company of some very adventurous and off-the-beaten-path kind of ladies and so on the return trip, we did a little backwoodsing. Let me tell you, that was the best part of the hike!
You go from crawling in the deep shaded brush to climbing down Lord of the Rings style spires..
And we got to walk on quartz.. how wicked is that?
So Alyeska and I are just chilling on this quarts seat when Jan comes crawling up beneath us! How fun.
Alyeska, forever the dancer, never misses a chance to strike a pose!
Just look at them go!
And we came out on top.
The walk back was rather humorous. It spiked a bit in the temperatures, putting us at around ninety degree hiking weather, and Alyeska, forever the pale white girl, sprinted from shade spot to shade spot to keep from getting burned.
So many nooks and crannies out there… you never know what you're going to stumble across when hiking off the trail!
Dinner tonight was Grandma's famous spagetthi and meatballs, as well as some wine. What kind of wine you ask? Well I don't even know!