"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

Saturday, August 23, 2014

More hiking adventures.

A couple of my co-workers, Leah and Steve, have started an informal hiking group on Saturdays.

Deerfield Lake - We hiked THIRTEEN MILES
around the lake
Deerfield Lake Loop:

Our Group
Lunch Break
The first hike I went on with the group was the Deerfield Lake Loop.  There was a group of seven of us on the hike ranging in age from 20 to 64.  My friends know where I was in that line up.  It was a great hike around Deerfield Lake - I would rate it as "moderate".   But, according to our guide book it was a 10-mile loop.  When we got to the 10 mile mark, we were still out in the boonies!!!  Almost three miles later, we could see our cars - on the far side of a barb wire fence and a creek.  The trail went around for about another mile.  Leah and I took one look at each other and crawled under the fence and waded across the creek!  We were done:)  We all learned a lesson on that hike - check the distance in several sources and take lots of water.  I had two liters but still ran out the last mile.

What???  Way over there?  Leah and
I crawled under the fence and waded across
a small stream.  We didn't have
another mile left in us:)
The Trail

Old Baldy Trail, Spearfish Canyon:

The second hike I went on with the group was the Old Baldy Trail in Spearfish Canyon.  This trail leads up to the summit of Old Baldy with a great view of the Northern Black Hills.  We met at the EDR (employee dining room) at 8:00 and headed to Spearfish Canyon (1.5 hours away) for the hike.  This hike was another moderate hike of about a 7-mile loop.  There were 10 of us in the group this time - ranging in age from about 18 to 64.  Do you see a pattern here?  After the hike we went to Roughlock Falls, and dangled our feet in the water before heading back to Keystone.  Some of the young international workers, had never seen a waterfall before.

At the top of Old Baldy

Friday, June 20, 2014

More Rain - and another bus tour!

And the rains continue!!!  So many people tell me to "send the rain my way".  I wish I could - it has continued to rain almost every day.  I will say Keystone is green!  Several days we have had such heavy fog you could not even see the Memorial.
Mount Rushmore - so foggy you can't see it!!

The weekend adventures included joining The Yoga Studio in Rapid City.  I've missed going to yoga and this studio has three classes I can fit in around  my work schedule.  I can also do some dvd's on my patio when its not raining.  After yoga, I drove around Rapid City and went to Dinosaur Park.  My grandson would have loved it!
Dinosaur Par

Friday night, my neighbors Jon and Sherry, invited several of us to go to Deadwood with them to an outdoor concert.  About an hour before we were planning to leave, thunderstorms rolled in.  We decided to forego that idea since its a 40 mile drive with no guarantees it wouldn't be rained out and walked up the street to the local beer and burger bar.
Fort Hayes - a set from "Dances With

Doris and Orville in front of the Game
Saturday, two of my co-workers and I went on another bus tour with Mount Rushmore Tours.   This was much better than the last with lots of information from the tour guide.  We left at 7:30 a.m. to drive to Fort Hayes which also houses the "Dances With Wolves" film set.  After having a pancake breakfast, we toured the set and boarded the bus for a 9:00 a.m. departure.  We spent all day on the tour arriving back at Fort Hayes for the nightly dinner/show.  We saw many of the same sights as the previous tour with a few more added.  It was a long day - I didn't get home until almost 9:00 p.m.
The Cathedral

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hiking - To the Arm of the Crazy Horse Memorial

Our group!!! Four of us over 50:)  I hiked with that group.
Today eight co-workers and I participated in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch - a hike up to the arm of the Crazy Horse Memorial.  It was a fun experience.  This is an organized hike and is a once a year event.    Its was a 6.2 mile round trip hike that ended at the Visitor Center.  It continues to rain here and poured down early this morning, but it didn't stop us.  We all started with jackets/layers on and removed them later.  The trail was muddy in places so we did a little detouring.  According to my Fitbit, I walked  6.79 miles and climbed 110 flights of stairs.

On the trail.
Lots of mud.

UP the trail!

Saw several signs re the blasting they do while working on
the sculpture.

This tunnel will eventually be the area
under his arm.

Proof that I made it to the top!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wall Drug and Badlands National Park

Today was my day off - rain was in the forecast once again.  We have had rain almost every day since I have been here!  Enough already.  There have also been several hail storms.  My car has several dents as proof.

Wall Drug Store, Wall, SD
Wooden floors, etc. 
Since rain was forecast, I decided on an indoor activity.  Wall Drug is well known in South Dakota.  They have signs posted on all the highways for miles around.  Its one of those places that you need to go to at least once if you are in the area.  They are famous for their free ice water and 5 cent coffee. Okay, and their doughnuts.  I had my nickel coffee and tried a doughnut.  Like my daughter, Janet, I am a "Shipley's girl" and didn't like the doughnut but the coffee is good.   It is really a huge tourist attraction and shopping center.  Not really my type of place but if you like to wander and shop you
would enjoy - they have everything ranging from drugstore items to books, souvenirs, t-shirts, toys, jewelry, camping supplies, artwork, etc., etc.

From Wall, I went to Badlands National Park and drove the loop road.  So gorgeous!!!  It was cloudy and windy but I was able to get out at a lot of the viewpoints and take some pics.  It would really be fun to go back and hike on a nice day.

By the time I got back to Rapid City to do a grocery store run, the rain and fog had arrived!

A day at work . . .

Nick and Carolyn Clifford.  At 93, he
autographs his books each day
in the gift shop and is
the last survivor of the workers
at Mt. Rushmore
Several of my friends have asked me why I am doing a seasonal job and what exactly I do.  The "why" question is a little harder to answer.  Even though it is a paying job, that is not really a factor.  By the end of the summer if I "break even" I am happy.  There must be a little adventure in my soul that I inherited from my mother.  Spending four months in an area gives me time to see the sights, make new friends, and go hiking and biking.  I love to hike but I won't do it alone.   Whatever drives me to do this, I am having fun!

Gift Shop where I work.
The gift shop at Mt. Rushmore is busy!!!  There are about 3,000,000  (yes, three million!!) visitors to Mt. Rushmore each year.  That's a lot of people!!!  These first few weeks they have been moving us around to different areas so we'll learn the store and see what area we like best.  So far I have worked in the "bull pen" (eight registers in the center of the store that are always busy), gold (South Dakota is famous for its Black Hills Gold jewelry), the Gallery (more expensive gifts and silver jewelry), and the t-shirt department.  I have talked to people from all over the world - including a man from Staunton, VA that bought a truck from my cousin, Bruce Lamond,  and a woman from Lubbock, TX whose doctor is a friend of mine from high school days.  Sometimes it really is a small world!!

I am adding some pics of the complex, just so you can see how big it is!!!  Besides the gift shop where I work, Xanterra runs a large restaurant and ice cream shop.  The National Park Service has a museum, Sculptor's Studio, film, and bookstores.  There is a "Presidential Trail" that walks under the sculpture and gives you a different view - .75 mile but lots of steps!  There is also a large amphitheater for the lighting ceremony that is held each evening.

The Amphitheater from the Presidential
Trail - seats 3000
Always lots going on!!
Made in USA

The Gallery
Books, etc.

Close up of Lincoln from Presidential Trail

Sculptor's Studio

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My First "Week End" in South Dakota

My days off this season are Friday and Saturday which I really like.  This quickly becomes referred to as "your weekend".  It also means I always seem to have my days mixed up.

Centennial Trail - Makes
me want to hike!
My first Friday off I went with John and Sherry and another co-worker to Wind Cave National Park.  Actually, we dropped John off at a trail head - he is hiking the Centennial Trail over the summer.   The rest of us went to Wind Cave and did the museum and tunnel tour.  Wind Cave is one of the longest tunnels in the world - really fascinating and different from other caves I have toured.   After our tour, we picked John up and found a spot to have our picnic lunch.  This is their second year here, so they drove me around and showed me some of the sites.   Beautiful scenery and places I'll go back to over the summer.  We ended the day with a stop at the Purple Pie Shop in Custer.

Some of the animals we saw were buffalo, wild burrows, and prairie dogs among others.
Wild Burrow
Feed me!!!

Saturday, Doris (another co-worker) and I went on a day-long bus tour of the area in an open-top bus.  There were seven of us on the tour - all freebies but one paying passengers.  As a seasonal worker in the area, we get VIP passes which gets us freebies or reduced tickets to various attractions.  We met the bus in Keystone at 9:15 a.m. and were dropped back off around 6:00 p.m.  A long day!  We had a great group and enjoyed visiting with them.  The tour included stops at Mount Rushmore (I got to pick up my Netflix dvds!), Custer State Park, The Needles Highway, Crazy Horse, and driving through the area.  Some of the same places I had been to the day before were included.  It was a good overview of the area for someone with limited time.  But, it was a long day for me - I needed a nap!!

Crazy Horse

Thursday, May 29, 2014

. . . on the road again!!! Destination: Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Note:  Several family members and friends have asked me to update my blog.  Over the next few weeks, I'll go back and update!  Lots of things have happened - the best being the birth of two grand daughters!!!  Janet and Nick had their first baby, Hannah Grace, in December.  Doug and Leigh Anne made Caden a big brother with the birth of Emily Clare in March. They've kept me busy and are, of course, the cutest little girls ever!!!
On the road again!!
May 16th I left Houston to start a new adventure.  With Casita in tow, I headed for Keystone, South Dakota to work at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.   Its about a 1300 mile drive from Houston, so I spent two nights in RV parks along the way and arrived in Keystone on May 18th.  All I have to say is its a long, long drive across Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska with many stops for gas.   Fortunately, I love audible books and listened to "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy on the journey.  I had read this book years ago but loved listening to it.  Great book.

I was met at the RV park by several of the residents - John even offered to back the Casita into my spot.  You know what I said to that offer!!!!   This is a small RV park for employees of Xanterra - all working at Mount Rushmore for the summer.  Xanterra provides shuttle service to the Monument so you don't have to drive unless you want.   John's wife, Sherry, works in HR and brought me the rest of my employment papers to fill out before I checked in on Monday.

Pretty Impressive View!
Monday morning I drove up to the Monument to check-in, have a quick tour of the facilities, and then headed into Rapid City to pick up a few things for "home sweet home".   After spending a couple of hours getting organized, I headed out for a walk around Keystone.  Many of the stores are still closed but are getting ready to open for the tourist season-my guess it will be wall to wall people before long.

Hanging with the big guys this summer!
Orientation was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday with my first day of "real" work on Thursday.  All went well!  I'll be working in the main gift shop as a cashier.  Very similar job to what I did at Yellowstone National Park.  Thursday my hours were 1:45 - 10:00 p.m. - late hours for this early bird!!
Home Sweet Home!!

The weather had been cloudy and rainy since I've been here - until Thursday.  Gloomy!  I was so glad to see the sun and enjoyed my morning before heading to work the late shift.  Actually did laundry, took a walk and did some chores around the Casita.

Even though there is no room for guests in the Casita, there is room to pitch a tent behind it - so come visit!!!!

April/May, 2013

update soon

Blessed again!!!

Welcome Emily Clare - update soon

Happy 2nd Birthday! to my favorite little boy!!!

Update soon