Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 14-23

June 28-July 7

We've now been on the road for 3 weeks! A lot has happened since the last update. After the Badlands we headed towards Rapid City. When we were there we met up with Neil's friends from home, Robbie and Tim, who were on there way to LA. We all went and saw Mt. Rushmore! Then Neil and I went to a park called Bear Country USA. We drove through the park, with our windows and doors shut like they told us, and we saw rocky mountain elk, reindeer, arctic wolves, big horned sheep, mountain lions, and about 50 bears! It was amazing! The animals would walk right in front of our car. There was another section  of the park that we walked around which was called "baby land." Our favorite part of baby land was the 30 baby bear cubs running around!

The next day we went to the Rushmore Tramway. We took a chairlift ride up,
and then an alpine slide down the mountain. We had a good view of Mt Rushmore from the top. Then we headed to the Crazy Horse Monument. Neil and I loved it! We spent about 3 hours looking at the Indian artifacts and the hand made jewelry. Then we finally got to the monument! What amazed us the most was the time line, and background of the monument. We read about what has been worked on over the years, and how it is a family effort with no state or federal funding for the project. 

Next we headed to Wind Cave National park. We toured one of the caves, which is the 5th longest cave in the world, consisting of 136 miles. We took an hour and a half tour. The cave was amazing and very intricate. Before our tour we started talking to the people parked next to us, because they were from Massachusetts as well! It's a small world! They were road tripping as well and have been on the road for over two months. They gave us a lot of helpful pointers for our journey! 

We spent about 5 days in South Dakota, and decided to head towards Colorado. First we wanted to hit Devils Towers in Wyoming. Devils towers was amazing. It just juts up from the earth, and everything around it is pretty flat. We saw a lot of people rock climbing the tower when we were there. The columns on the tower are the largest and widest in the world. 

Then it was off to Colorado. Our first destination  was Rocky Mountain National Park. We tried to find a campground when we got close to the park, but they were all full because it was July 4th weekend. We finally found a site that had overflow spots, which was basically a spot to park and sleep. The view from the site was beautiful. We were surrounded by snow covered mountains. The next day we used the pool and hot tub at the campground and then drove 1 mile down the road to the National Park. We went on a beautiful hike, and passed 4 lakes on our way. We hiked through the snow in a lot of spots. The mountains were all around us, and the views of the mountains over the lakes was awesome! We finally got to the top, and the we had an am amazing view of the mountains right in front of us, covered in snow! We took a lot of pictures! 

Next we headed to Denver to visit Neil's friend Andrew. The views of the city were so crazy because there are mountains surrounding the city. It was fun hanging out in Denver with Andrew, but it was definitely a change of pace for us. When we were leaving Denver we drive about 20 minutes to the Red Rocks concert venue! It was beautiful! Inside they had a hall of fame for artists who have performed there, and lists of artists that have played there over the years.

Next we headed toward The Great Sand Dunes National Park. On our way we stopped in a town called Bueno Vista. We found a beautiful campground, and we watched fire works there for the 4th of July. The next morning we asked about a white water rafting flyer that they had in the office. The lady said it was awesome, so Neil and I decided to do it! We ratted in the Arkansas River through the Black Canyon. It was so much fun! We went through one class 4 rapids which covered the whole raft in water! The views were amazing and the rapids were so thrilling!! We had a blast! 

The next day, we headed to the Great Sand Dunes. We decided to hike High Dune which was a 650 foot tall dune! The start of our hike was a 9 thousand elevation and we were continuing to head up! The dunes were very steep and the air was very thin! It was quite a hike. When we finally got to the top the dunes looked like they continued on forever. On the way down, we ran down the dunes! It was so much fun! We had so much momentum and the sand would slide! Down was a lot easier than up! 

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