By Terri Seier
The moment I was packed to go it was exciting and new! I was ready for the adventure! However, spending five hours in a car when it’s late at night can make a person strongly dislike the one next to them. Usually that’s how it is in long trips, but this one was very different. We were all tired and no one was crammed next to the other. We all had plenty of space and were eager to laugh at each other’s jokes and make fun of everyone’s strange habits. My parents, Shawn and Paul Seier, Maria Bartak, and I were all Wyoming bound.
Day One: We have no food. No, that’s a lie we had food. The first day—Thursday, July 16 – was just to get a good chunk of the trip to Wyoming out of the way. My parents, Maria and I left Ewing around 6:30 p.m. and traveled as far away west as we could. We stopped in Chadron around 11 p.m. and were all ready for a good night sleep just so we could get up early and hop back in the car to finish the other six hours to Yellowstone.
Day Two: We lost Maria. We didn’t techniquely lose her, she just fell asleep while in the car. She wasn’t the only one though. It is a struggle to try to stay awake in a car for six hours with the same flat scenery all around for miles. Also, a person can only be entertained with rock, paper and scissors for so long. I don’t know how my father does it. I’m constantly amazed how he can drive miles on end without showing any signs of drowsiness. We did arrive in Yellowstone fairly early and went to go see Old Faithful. The geyser was amazing.
It was cold sitting around waiting for it to erupt, but it was worth the wait. Once we had our fun at Old Faithful we walked a trail around the area looking at all the different geysers. I had heard mixed feelings about the smell at the geysers from the sulfur. Some people liked the smell and others strongly disliked it. I personally thought it smelt like rotten eggs. Wasn’t my favorite place to smell, but it was really neat seeing all the small, and large, geysers.
Day Three: Paul was an energetic child. On Saturday we went up to the Canyon Waterfalls and walked over 100 flights of stairs according to Maria’s Fitbit. It was fun at first going down the 320 steps to the bottom of Uncle Tom’s Trail to look at the waterfall, but as expected walking up them was great cardio! Even after the 13 or more miles we walked that afternoon Dad still had enough energy to walk one more, even when the rest of us were all ready for bed. Nevertheless, we all climbed down the steep slopes and stairs to the bottom to see another stunning view of the waterfalls.
Then came the hard part; going up. As we started the painful trudge up the mountain Dad thought it would be a grand idea to race up the mountain. So what did Maria and I do? We accepted his challenge and ran up the winding trail dodging those climbing up and down.
Day Four: I surf the river. Really I didn’t surf, but we did go White Water Rafting. My parents had already been through the experience of going through the rapids, but Maria and I on the other hand were newbies. So where were we placed in the raft? Right up front just so we could experience the amazing cool waters early in the morning! Even though the water was cold the sun came out and warmed us up easily as we kept paddling down the river. The first rapid was quite a rush. We were supposed to keep paddling through the rapid, but Maria and I had to stop and laugh at each other after being drenched head to toe.
Day Five: We embrace the traveling life. Again we set out on the road to South Dakota. We arrived at our hotel around 8 p.m. and after checking in we went up to see Mount Rushmore for the light show. After watching a short video giving a little history of the four presidents they lit the faces up. That wasn’t the most admirable moment of the show, however. The most moving part was when all those who have, and are currently, serving in the army came down and helped lower the flag. They also asked that those who were unable to easily move up or down steps still send someone to represent them. It was great to see all the bodies down there to help lower the flag.
Day Six: We set our sights on home. We didn’t go home straight away. We went back to Mount Rushmore to see the attraction in full day light. Afterwards, we went to look at Crazy Horse’s Monument. Everyone agreed that it would be fantastic if the monument was finished in our lifetimes, but we all guessed that it was very unlikely. Even though it was a short stay in South Dakota we headed home only stopping to take a tour through the Mammoth Site Museum. I found this to be beyond fascinating! I’ve always loved mammoths and elephants, but it was at the museum that I found my new favorite animal, Short-faced bear. This bear stood on all fours at heights of 180 cm tall, and standing up on its hind legs could reach the second story of a building! Sadly, they are extinct.
Nevertheless, I wish they were still around just so I could ride one. Then of course I’d probably die, but I’d die a happy death. Overall, the trip was long and the car seat was uncomfortable, but I loved the adventure and the odd conversations along the way.
We also came up with a new way to rate our hunger! Instead of a 1-10 scale it was a squirrel – grizzly bear scale!
By Terri Seier