custer state park
My grand-niece, Aurora Hadlock is growing up so fast. The coming school year will find her in her last year of elementary school, and Aurora has decided that she wants to play volleyball this year. I loved watching my girls play volleyball. Aurora is going to have a great time, and so will her parents, Chelsea and Ryan Hadlock, when they get to watch her games. I loved going to those games. Aurora is very active in many things. She is in her third year of Lego Robotics, and has really enjoyed building the Lego robots. Aurora is a good student and a very smart girl. She is also very social.
She loves to go camping. The family has gone camping at Aurora’s grandparents Casper mountain land, where the family dog, Titan is buried. Aurora loved that dog, who was a part of the family before she was even born. Bringing flowers to put on Titan’s grave is their way of showing Titan that he is never going to be forgotten. This year too, the family went camping in the Black Hills. They drove through the Wildlife Loop in the Custer State Park, and for those who don’t know, toward the end of the Wildlife Loop, there is a herd of donkeys. They are friendly little beggars, and Aurora got to feed a donkey a carrot. She loved that it came right up to her. She thought it was very cool. There is so much to do in the Black Hills, and at least 50% of the wonder of the area is driving around looking at the beautiful scenery. Aurora gets that. She totally loves having her face in the sun and fresh air when the family was driving through US Route 16A. It is one of the most beautiful drives in the Black Hills, although there are lots of beautiful drives. It’s no wonder Aurora love to put her face out the window, watch the beautiful scenery, and feel the sunshine on her face.
As Summer came to a close, Aurora, her brother, Ethan, and her cousins, Adelaide Sawdon and Mackenzie Moore all gathered in Laramie, Wyoming, where Mackenzie lives with her parents. The cousins all attended Vacation Bible School together. They have been getting a lot of quality time together, and having a great time just hanging out. Aurora is the unofficial leader of the pack…always keeping the little ones busy and having fun. She has a very giving heart…just like her mom, and she wants to be just like her. She is even growing her hair out so she can be just like her mom. Very sweet. Today is Aurora’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Bob and I are very much into hiking. We love hiking on different trails in the areas we travel to. Of course, our all time favorite place, so far, is the beautiful hike to Harney Peak in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and we try to get up there every summer. We have also hiked the Southern Rim of The Grand Canyon in Arizona, and gone down into the canyon a little ways…that was beautiful too. Closer to home, we love the Bridle Trail that is located right here on Casper Mountain and the Platte River Parkway that meanders along the Platte River for almost 8 miles one way. Nevertheless, the reality is that you can’t always be on one of the beautiful trails, because there just isn’t time after work. So most evenings find us walking the city trail that is located a block from our house.
This trail just wanders along next to the alley between the houses from 2nd Street to 15th Street. We usually walk this one between 1 1/2 to 2 hours…thus walking between 6 and 8 miles a day. It isn’t a difficult trail, but it is a slight uphill grade going from north to south, and then a slight downhill grade going from south to north. It is a pleasant trail, and well traveled. We run into people we have never met, people we know only from the trail, and occasionally someone we know from the rest of our lives. But, these aren’t the only friends we run into one the trail…there are many others.
Many people are out walking their dogs in the evening, and while all these dogs are curious about us when we pass by, there are several that are quite special to us. They are all well behaved dogs, and they always come up to us and greet us with tails wagging, hoping that we will take a moment to pet them and talk with them. You really can’t resist, and these friends always understand that you are on a walk, and you can’t talk long, so after a friendly pat, they go merrily on down the trail looking for the next friendly encounter.
There are also the friends who are not on the trail. the dogs in the yards, wishing the could go with us. Some of them just bark at us for a couple of weeks, and then we become boring to them and we are ignored, but others are always there to greet us. Two of the most interesting dogs we pass are the two that are always on the roof of the homeowner’s garage. The deck connects to the detached garage in such a way that the dogs can run freely on the roof. The first time I saw it, I was shocked, but now it is just a normal…even if it is a little bit of a traffic stopper, site. Of course, we also see the birds, and occasionally a duck or two, and we encounter deer, rabbits, squirrels, and the occasional friendly pet cat.
All in all, while our walk on the trails are designed to be relaxing exercise, they really are filled with activity. We may not realize just how much activity there is going on around us all the
time, but it is there nevertheless. I always love late spring, summer, and early fall, because we have so many for opportunities to get out there on the trails then, and I really miss my trails in the late fall, winter, and early spring, because it is just too cold to get out and reconnect with nature. It’s funny that we have all these furry friends, because Bob and I choose not to have pets of our own. We are too busy. Still, I miss all of my furry trail friends when we are away.