One of my favorite memories from this trip. It was a bit stressful getting started as we sorted out kids with Grandma and Grandpa and once everything was said and done, we were on our hike out to the climbing rock.
One beautiful morning in South Dakota!
Learning how to rock climb, without designated pegs like I've done before, was hard. I would compare it to my years of cross country running where you have to prepare mentally and be your own cheerleader, trusting your body to help you make it to the end goal. It sure helps to have lots of people you love on the side cheering for you, too! The instructors explained that climbing is not about upper body strength, which completely surprised me. They told us it was our feet and lower body that would be doing the major work. We wore special shoes that would help us "smear" along the rocks when there were no holds. Watching the instructors demonstrate for us I thought, "I've got this!" But then it was my turn. Oh my goodness! It's terrifying to have to trust in only your feet to hold you because the rocks have hardly any ridges for your fingers or feet. I remember talking to myself saying, "You got this. Oh my goodness this is hard. You can do it. Got to make it to the top." I honestly believe that my experience as a runner helped me get through this. I am scared of heights and being up so high was really scary but I also really wanted to keep going and going until I made it to the top. It was a challenge that I loved even though it was really hard. Making it to the top is like finishing a race. When you look down (and try to hold on to your breakfast!!!) it's an amazing feeling to know that you've just accomplished this big thing!!!!
There were 3 people who cried while climbing. It really was hard. But one of the reasons this was on of my best memories from the trip was how we encouraged each other. When we saw a member of our family having a hard time, tears running down their face, everyone was quick to stop what they were doing and cheer them on. It was amazing and I love our family. The instructors remarked how great our group was, how encouraging we were to each other (Honk!!! Honk!!!) and how willing we were to keep trying to climb up the different levels of rocks. We were surprised when the instructors said that most groups come out to climb and say they are finished after one turn. All of us got in about 4 great climbs, while belaying for each other in-between. It was hard for me to believe that people could come out and experience one climb and want to stop. But then I have to remember how hard it was, emotionally, mentally and physically. I'm glad our group was tough beans and kept each other going! It was so much fun and so worth the hard work!!
Mackenzie's climb. I remember hearing her say, "Oh my gosh. This is so hard. How can I do this?!" to herself. And that's when we started cheering for her!
Me and Megan!
Wow wow hubba hubba…..
Smitty rocked it :)
Brooke, Me and Jen
The brothers climbing. Cameron and Tyson
Our crazy group of climbers!
The "Tysons' " with one instructor
Ben and Mackenzie hard at work together with Mackenzie climbing and Ben belaying for her. The instructors said this was a great marriage strengthening exercise :) Trusting in your partner to help you up and down the rocks.
Mackenzie and Tyson climbing with Smitty belaying.
Tyson and Mackenzie at the top
Cameron's awesome pose in the beautiful view
Berkleigh, Smitty, and Jen
Little Berkleigh all the way up there!
I can't wait until Taryn is old enough to do this. Too bad you had to be 8 years old!
This beautiful lake was along the trail back to the start! Such a great view and a really peaceful place. Those are two faces of some pretty happy climbers!
Our group with our three instructors (the guy in blue at the top and the girl & boy in black on the right)
**Then it was on to Mt. Rushmore!!!!!! The whole inspiration for this trip!**
Carrying one tired little girl with Mom and Dad leading the way. Tyson laughed because with all the visitors and the flags from different states, it looked like the beginning of Jurassic World :)
It was really fun learning about the history of Mt. Rushmore and what it took to make it. The last time I was here I was about Hadleigh's age so I'm happy I could come back for a 2nd time when I can remember it! Now it looks like we will have to make one more trip in the future so Hadleigh can remember it too :)
The 10 grandkids on the trip!
Mom and Dad - the master trip planners. These shirts are just classic! (no disrespect!!!!)
Back at our cabins at Palmer's Gulch, there was a giant rock that all the kids loved to climb up everyday! Tyson went up with Taryn this time and snapped one of the cutest pictures!
After touring the visitors center, we headed back to our KOA cabins for a chuck wagon dinner. It was pretty fun when they called "Scott" and the group of 23 of us climbed onto the wagons. I heard audible "WOW" 's from several people marveling at the size of our family get together! We listened to a cowboy sing songs as we ate our dinner- fun! We were so hungry from the days adventures!
Megan and David's clan were dressed so well. The had found a Western store going out of business as they traveled to meet us for the vacation. They looked so great!
And of course the kids loved the wagon rides.
There is nothing better than some good ol' Smore's to finish off the night after a great game of Ultimate Frisbee (with the glow in the dark frisbees Grandma gave to the grandkids)
The cabin in the background was Megan & David's. We all joked that it was haunted because compared to the other two newly restored/remodeled, it looked like it was about to fall apart. Actually there was a really bad storm one night and we all thought their cabin would wash down the hill in the middle of the night!
But they were serious troopers with it! I have to give Smitty and I pats on the back too because Smitty, me and the girls shared a room with just two twin beds. Yup- four of us on two twin beds! Each night, Tyson and I would switch off sleeping in the same bed as one of the girls. It was very interesting! But besides our bed issue, the cabins were amazing! Really, we were so impressed! They were clean, beautiful and spacious.