Thursday, March 30, 2017

Eleventh Hour Gulch hike + 2

Almost two weeks ago, on St. Patrick's Day, we took a long drive up to Spearfish Canyon and did three hikes.

The day started with me testing out my new watch by going on a long run of 5 miles! I did a little wandering and came across this lovely valley not far from our house. 

After I got cleaned up Evie and I went to Red Lobster for a special girls lunch for Shari's Saint Patrick's Day birthday. Yum!

Evie and Grace got a close up viewing of a lobster that included a lesson and even touching one!

As soon as we returned from lunch, Terry had everything ready for us to jump in the van and drive north. I texted a former student, Bailey, on the way up, and asked her about the hike she had posted photos of a couple times, The 11th Hour. She offered to accompany us to make sure we got there.

Terry and I had actually done this hike, Eleventh Hour Gulch, before and just not known it was the same one. The entire hike was in this little ravine on the west side of the highway just past Devil's Bathtub and Victoria Lane. It was completely vertical and we had to scramble up rocks amidst melting streams of water. Noah had a grand ol' time and said it was the best part of the day. The two littles and Luna were a little harder to handle though. I had to make sure Luna didn't strangle herself with the leash and Terry had to carry the littles over, up, and down rocks that were too big for them. 

This giant wall of melting ice was what we came to see. Terry made the same joke that he did on our honeymoon in Kauai when we had traveled what seemed a long way to see these thin streams of water dripping over a ferny cave - some farmer must have left his hose on. Har har har.

It was nice to have Bailey along! If she hadn't been there, we might not have found the right place and we definitely wouldn't have had anyone to take our picture. 

It was the last weekend of winter and already the weather had been very warm, so much of the ice really had already melted.

We tried to go a bit further.

We considered climbing up over this lip of ice since there was more to see beyond it, but it was so slippery and wet and dangerous that we turned around.

I took a look through an old photo album and discovered that Yes, Terry and I had indeed visited the Eleventh Hour before - I thought I recognized it but the bridge was what sealed the deal. In the fall of 2003, about seven or eight months before we got married, my sister brought my good friend April home with her from SDSU over some weekend break and we randomly stopped there to hike!

This shot is less blurry. How fun!

Back to the present, here is Bailey peering over the ice.

I climbed up the sketchy bridge for a look and decided that yeah, there was no way we were going up there.

The higher ground afforded me a much better view of the ice wall below though. Unfortunately I had my settings all wrong and this shot did not turn out at all. 

Since Eleventh Hour only took like 15 minutes we decided to do a little wandering at Iron Creek again like we last had at the end of September.

Taken at the exact same place.

It wasn't nearly as beautiful without all the fall colors, but for sure it was still better than a cornfield. Ha!

Throwing rocks.


Bailey! See, she really was there.

Still quite a bit of snow in spots despite the impending change of seasons.

Heading back down, I love this shot. The sun was beautiful on the rock faces. 

Beautiful rocks and bare trees...

Much more impressive last time!

Almost back, but I love the exposed rock walls.

Looking north from our van once we got out.

That hike didn't take all that long either and Bailey had never seen Little Spearfish Falls so we drove further south to hike that one as well, just like we did in September...and  nearly 14 years ago (?!?!!!) with April. Again it wasn't quite as beautiful, but the fresh air and sun probably did us more good after this long, cold, dark winter.

Boom baby. 

Thanks to Bailey for taking our family picture!

Rewind to that day in 2003 with Stephanie and April. I love it so much!

Back to present day. I thought the shape of the snow was pretty cool.

We kept trying to get Luna to look at the camera. It's like having another baby in the family, it really is.

Bailey one more time. 

We finally hiked out and the sun was getting low. After three hikes the kids were ready to be done. I had already run five miles that day and I was ready too! We drove back to Spearfish and ate together at Culvers before heading home. It was a great day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

a two dino visit day

Nearly two weeks ago now, the day after our newly discovered hike at a nearby park, I visited Dinosaur park twice in one day. When it rains it pours. Except there was no raining that day. Far from it.

The weather was simply too gorgeous not to go out and mountain bike. So when Denise asked if I could come out and play, I answered her call. We began on the west side of Skyline Drive at West Fulton Street, something I had never done and had been eager to try. It was quick but such fun. I used my new watch to track and map our progress, which was exactly what I hoping for when I got it. 

Later that evening it was still so lovely and bright out (the clocks had just recently sprung forward) that again we (okay, I) wanted to get out under the open sky. We decided to take a drive up to Dinosaur Park to take in the sunset and dinos. 

Just the day before Terry had taken the Chrysler out on a successful drive all the way to church, out to dinner, and back home again so we figured it could handle this small trip. That previous day there had been just three passengers, but this night we all crammed in there. Actually, there was so need for cramming as there was more than enough room for the six of us plus Luna. 

Next time we'll put Samuel in front. Noah is too big for that!

Such fun! 


Noah cannot take a smiley photo anymore.

Unloading at the park.

The east clouds turned out being more colorful than the western sky.

Dino number one with a cute Samuel and pretty clouds.

All four on the Stegosaurus though you can't see Samuel.

Noah and Ezra took off but Terry and Luna peeking around the edges cracked me up.

I pulled Terry over to the exact place where Denise and I had taken a selfie earlier that day.

Up on top!

They scooted up the tail as far as they were able.

I was hoping those clouds would light up!

While we waited on the sun we went down to the remaining two dinosaurs. Ezra felt so big and proud when he climbed up there.

One, two, three, four.

M hill with a touch of orange and pink across the gap.

We walked around to the north and west of the last dinosaurs, to the edge of the cliff and took a look where Denise and I lowered our bikes down since the path dead ended here and we didn't want to turn around.

Zooming in to the switchbacks that Denise and I rode up earlier.

This was about as good as the color got. Bummer, but still a lovely night.

Evie, cool tree roots, and a bit of sunset.

For our remaining time the kids scrambled around and etched on the rocks. When I took a step back I could see some poor sap had asked a girl, presumably, to prom right there. See PROM carved into the rock? Gag. Ha! Anyway, it was a fantastic day.