Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Texas Girl's Travels :: My Wyoming Adventure

Last weekend, this Texas girl found herself cancelling all plans last minute, dropping children off with relatives and catching several flights out of state. As a busy homemaker, I usually don't get to wander out of my spheres of influence (my home and my community) sans boys very often. However, when the opportunity arose I quickly sprung into action booking flights and making phone calls in order to visit my husband in Wyoming.

My adventure began two Thursday evenings ago and ended  this past Tuesday morning, which happens to be a lot of travel for someone not quite use to the lifestyle. I ended up flying out of Shreveport, Louisiana to Memphis, Tennessee, and then onto Gillette, Wyoming via Salt Lake City, Utah. I have never been to Utah or Wyoming; I didn't know what to expect in the landscape, the people or the weather. As the plane began its arrival into Salt Lake City, I was in awe. The sheer beauty of the snow covered mountains, as well as the vastness of the Great Salt Lake, exceeded my pre-conceived imagery. I wish I could have snapped an aerial photograph to share with you all.

Wyoming was not what I expected; neither was South Dakota (another state to add to the "been there" list). History books have often painted these two states as bleak, empty and nothing but prairie and mountains. While there is a great amount of the latter, Wyoming and South Dakota are anything but bleak and empty. This part of the country is full of natural beauty, a plethora of wildlife and an expanse of untamed wilderness. It was amazing!

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Devil's Tower
Jake and I visited Devil's Tower Saturday morning on our way to Mount Rushmore. Devil's Tower, a national monument, is believed to be an ancient volcanic vent. Standing 1,267 feet tall, it can be seen along the Wyoming horizon for miles.

A sacred sited for Native Americans, the tower was originally hailed as a rock where 7 Native American girls were seeking safety from a large bear. Legend says, the girls began to pray and the rock grew taller and taller, pushing the girls to the heavens. Along the 1.3 mile base trail, a visitor can spot prayer bundles tied onto tree limbs by the local Native Americans. Prayer bundles contain natural items such as seeds, animal hair, rocks, arrow heads, tobaccos, etc. and are considered secret to anyone other than the creator.
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Prayer Bundles

On route to Mount Rushmore, Jake and I stopped in at Sturgis for lunch. Home to the largest annual motorcycle rally, Sturgis is a town of 6,600 people, swelling to over 500,000 during the event. We appeared to be the only visitors that afternoon.

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Mount Rushmore

If you have ever watched National Treasure 2 or perused a history book, you have an idea of what Mount Rushmore looks like. Let me tell you, movies, pictures and books cannot truly depict the immensity of Mt. Rushmore nor the dedication it took to create one of America's treasured landmarks. Envisioned by Gutzon Borglum in 1927, Mt. Rushmore took 14 years to complete the presidential sculptures.

Some original aspects of the monument have not been fully finished to this day. Behind Lincoln's head, there is a room tittled The Hall of Records. Borglum envisioned this sanctuary as a place to store America's historical account. He hoped to have stairs carved to the right of Lincoln for the public to have closer viewing abilities, as well as access to The Hall of Records. Today, the room has been completed, but it is not open to the public.

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A National Monument

On our way back to Wyoming, we followed the scenic route via Custer State Park. I always assumed this region known as the Black Hills was aptly named due to the color of the rocks, however, after a much closer look, it is the forest green conifers and their black bark that lend the hills their colorful moniker. As we winded through Custer, my husband was hoping to spy a buffalo or two. This was his first time to see the creatures wild.

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Wyoming was incredible. I cannot believe I had the chance to visit such a unique frontier. Sometimes, when an opportunity presents itself, you have to be ready to toss everything out of the window and try something new. My two boys are ever the flexible pair and I give them, as well as my family members whom looked after them, a large thank you! I enjoyed myself immensely and look forward to the next adventure!

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Wyoming Snow Fence

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful that you got to see all that in such a short visit! I've always wanted to see that part of the country.