Wednesday, March 15, 2017

sanity maintenance day - Custer State Park wanderings

I don't know what it was but two weekends ago I had just had it. Well, okay, perhaps I do know why. Because I stay at home full time, the place which is also my work, and never leave. Ha! Yes, teaching, eating, sleeping in the same place as four insane children with no break takes its toll. They don't leave during the day. They're there on the weekends. There's no summer or school year break! So really, it's understandable. Most of the time I'm fine but sometimes I start feeling so cramped and trapped that I have the urge to just run away, far away. This particular Sunday morning did me in. I absolutely had to get away. So I did. 

Terry and I (and even friends) had discussed how I might need to get away more often for my sanity. Once home from church, Terry loaded up the kids to go four wheeler sledding at the ranch and I loaded up only myself (oh joy!) and Luna and drove off in search of adventure. I took Highway 16 past Mount Rushmore because that's nostalgic for me. Five summers working there plus my dad's 30 years makes for quite a deep groove in my memories.

I love taking pictures and then reliving the experiences later on (hence this blog), so I pulled over and snapped of pic of George's profile. 

I drove slow, soaking in the familiar wilderness. I stopped at Horsethief, remembering the many times I've cliff jumped there. Perhaps again someday... 

I took Highway 87 towards Sylvan Lake zooming around those curly roads. Perhaps I should have zoomed less or not fed Luna lunch because she puked on the seat next to me shortly after getting onto this road. Poor Luna. She has a bit of a sensitive stomach I think. 

I didn't even originally know what I would do but I ended up at Sylvan Lake. I thought I'd take a hike and take some pictures. I was a bit surprised by the amount of snow though.  

The last time I was there was in June after Noah's first middle school bike trip. It was hot and we got sunburned after only like thirty minutes of sitting on the beach. What a difference a few months makes right?!

Solitude. Peace. Quiet. Ice fishermen. Snow. Cold air on my face.

Sun, warmth, noise, crowds. So different! I prefer summer at all times, but it was so lovely to be on my own. 

Luna was a trooper and climbed up the big iconic granite rock in the middle of the lake. She had no problem. When I wanted to go higher than she could I tired her leash to a little tree and stepped up for a lovely view in the cold wind and a few photos.

Took the same exact photo last June! 


Took a selfie for good measure. Who cares what those fishermen think? I don't have any children with me!!! 

Did the same thing before too. Ha ha ha!

Looking back towards the beach. 

I kept Luna on the leash and tried to get a good shot of her. 

"Dog takes in the view" He he. 

She's so cute! 

I really wanted to hike but didn't know how feasible that was with all the snow. I started around the lake and kept going because others had gone before and stomped out a path. 

Behind the lake. 

Just me and Luna. 

These are the big rocks holding the lake in. The dam is that small brown bit between the two bigger walls. 

I really couldn't go farther so I climbed back out on the other side of the lake and kept walking along the path. Look at all that beautiful snow still stuck on the tree limbs. Love it. Luna hadn't peed in hours and she went for me on command! She a good dog. 

The dam and rock wall I was just behind. 

A bit further away. 

Panoramic from June. What a difference! 

Lots of granite, snow, and ice.

And I'm back. There's like three rows of rocks here but it's hard to tell. The middle one is where I was on top of in the beginning. 

I had thought it would be fun to drive Needles Highway but the dang thing was closed. I didn't realize they did that in the winter. So I continued on 89 to Custer. I stopped and took this out of the sunroof shortly after leaving Sylvan.  

I did the same thing in June. Apparently I like this view. Ha! 

What I wanted next was a great sunset shot to finish the day. There were enough clouds in the sky that for once I thought we'd get a decent one. I remembered a fire tower sign that we passed during our staycation in September but could only remember that it was on the way to the Custer State Park Wildlife Loop. I drove passed it (yet again) and didn't realize it was the place I was looking for. I noticed it was closed for the season also so it wouldn't have worked. I will visit there again though. 

I ended up thinking the fire tower was in the wildlife loop so I drove down it for several miles until I was sure I was wrong and the sun was getting too low. Then I turned around. I saw two buffalo though!

I stopped where the wildlife road emerges from the trees and realized I had a great view right there. 

I drove back up Highway 87 looking for another good place, but realized the one I had just been at was superior so I turned around. I caught a beautiful sight of pink on the hills where my passed up Mount Coolidge was located. 

I went back to the wildlife loop road and sat for longer than I thought the sunset would take. It was worth it.  


Once the colors were gone I turned around and made my way back to Highway 16 and home. This photo was just around the bend from that Mount Coolidge Fire Tower. Next I went out of dinner with my friend Katie and didn't get home until the kids were in bed. What a great day it was. 

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