Monday, August 4, 2008

Our Summer Vacation ♥

Where have I been? On vacation!! We went to South Dakota and West Yellowstone with our friends, Share and Dan, and their kids, Mariah and Trent. I think there was over 2300 pictures taken between the two families. Yes, that's not a typo ... 2300+. We were taking pictures of everything, I swear! But I love that ... just to look at them and think about every minute of the fun we were having.

Here's some highlight pictures ... completely condensed for your viewing pleasure!

We visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, the first night in SD. They decorate the outside of the building in corn cobs and other grains. This year's theme was Everyday Heroes. Notice the one on the left ... the electrician! So we had to stand with our electrican hero... sweet!

The next day was a travel day to get to Hill City, SD. We went through the Badlands, so we just HAD to stop and take pictures by the sign. Here's me and Share ... love this girl!

While stopping to take some pictures of the Badlands, there were signs warning us of rattlesnakes. Trent "Strong Hand" Smith is ready to attack while the girls are not sure they really want to see one!

On the way to Hill City, of course we stopped at Wall Drug ... you have to!! Here we are with our free water!

We stayed at a KOA campground, then the following day we headed to see Mt. Rushmore. Very cool to see how they carved the presidents into the side of the mountain. There were some exhibits where you could learn more as well, very interesting.

Brea had to do a booklet and earned her Jr. Ranger badge. Trent and Mariah did it together and earned theirs as well!

During a lunch break in Keystone, we found this HUGE chair so ... again ... we HAD to take pictures in it. Super cool! Here we were trying to act like rag dolls.

After going to Mt. Rushmore, we went to the Rushmore Caves. Here's Dan, Trent, Share and Mariah ... the picture some lady took of us was so blurry you could barely tell who it was. Boo hiss!

The next stop was the Cosmos Mystery Area ... where everything is a little weird. You can't help but stand slanted! Brea and Mariah stood in the corner of a room WITHOUT falling over ... gravity holds you up ... or is it an optical illusion ... the world will never know!!

The following day we went to see Crazy Horse. This carving in the mountian is massive. I guess Mt. Rushmore would fit in the upper part of the back of Crazy Horse's head, that's how huge this monument is! They had several buildings here with tons of artifacts and memorabilia to look at ... a great educational place!

It's All About Yellowstone!

On the way to Yellowstone, we stopped at Devils Tower.

Along the way, we made a few stops at rest areas. This particular one had signs saying "Beware of Bears!" Mariah and Brea did their best bear impression to see if they could scare the bears away. Good try girls!

Once settled in at West Yellowstone, we just relaxed that night, but the following day, we went to see some geysers and other funky Earth phenomenons ... like bubbling paint paints and water shooting out of the Earth ... all in the same area. It was crazy but so beautiful at the same time. When something in the forest falls, they just let it lay there. Here's an example of a tree that fell, but they don't clean it up. They just let nature take it's course. Funky roots = another picture - LOL!

This is a landscape picture of one of the geysers. It was super bright out so my lines didn't turn out exact, but you can see how massive and beautiful this is. HOWEVER, the smell was atrocious! It smells like sulfur. P...U! The water is extremely hot so you are not even allowed anywhere near it!

Another landscape picture of a geyser ... which from a distance, and from the sky, it looks rainbow in color. It was so stunning. The ground around it was so gross though. They would have little signs that called the areas "Bacteria Pits."

Next stop was Old Faithful. We were waiting for it to erupt so I took this picture of it. Doesn't look like much, but when it erupts, it's so awesome!!

Here's the seven of us at Old Faithful after it erupted.

Dan, Share, Me, Scott, Trent, Brea and Mariah

Leaving the park ... another sign ... another picture!

The Smith-Baxter clan left a day earlier than us, so the next day Brea, Scott and I toured West Yellowstone. We were at a Bear and Wolf Exhibit where they had this huge teddy bear chair. Brea wanted it for her room. She could have used it as a bed!

While driving around Yellowstone park, we stopped at a few places to take pictures. This had to be one of my favorites. I wish I could live right next to this river with Scott and Brea. It was so serene, beautiful and perfect!

With my guy ... ♥ ...

We also went to see some more geysers and hot springs. Below you can see some of the landscape pictures I took there ... such amazing beauty! In the pictures it might just look like rocks, but in real life ... spectacular!

We did so much more during the trip but I certainly can't post everything, but what an awesome trip with the best of friends! Can't wait until the next time!

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