Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fun with Uncle Dick & Aunt Donna

Have you ever ventured to a new place and instantly felt at home? I feel this way in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Partly because of the majestic landscape that beckons to be explored but mostly because of the warm welcome we received. They used to say “there’s gold up in them there hills”, and there is…my family. My Great Uncle Dick & Aunt Donna Fisher are two of the spriteliest individuals I know.

They chose to get the most out of their retirement by becoming tour guides in the Black Hills. Not only is their combined knowledge enough to publish their own encyclopedia, but they have such a passion for their state and their community that it’s hard not to be infected with their enthusiasm. Torben & I were treated to an A+ tour.

We drove the wildlife loop in Custer State Park (pics to follow in next blog), hiked through an incredible array of 200 BILLION year old rock formations. (Truthfully, my finite mind is having a hard time wrapping itself around just how old that is.)

(there's a girl free climbing on this "needle")
(yup, that's the road-and traffic goes in both directions!)

We toured a beautiful lodge, sampled Kick-Ass rhubarb wine (seriously, that’s the name), mingled with the artists at a sculpture exhibit, hiked a lake at several thousand feet, and saw the evening light and flag ceremony at Mt. Rushmore (the pictures didn’t turn out so well in the evening light, so you’ll just have to trust me – we were there). Did you know that the faces in the mountain are so large that Abe Lincoln, if he were alive, could stand up in his own eyeball? Nice trivia Aunt Donna!

The crème de la crème: a night blast at Crazy Horse. This was a superb treat! It was the anniversary of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the sculptor’s wife’s 84th birthday –what a celebration!! The monument to Crazy Horse is a work in progress and is a beautiful tribute to all Native American Tribes. The entire Mt. Rushmore carvings, all four heads, could fit in Crazy Horse’s head; this thing brings new meaning to HUGE! After the original artist passed, his wife and family took over the project and have expanded it to include a museum celebrating Native American Heritage and plans are underway for a university and medical community on the mountain. To celebrate: there was a laser light show and 84 thundering blasts atop the mountain. Then were all served cake in celebration! (My uncle Dick was first in line!!) It was very memorable and it felt like we were being a part of history. Thanks Uncle Dick & Aunt Donna!!

P.s. Torben & I though it hysterical that we are taking this trip in the “prime of our lives” and Dick & Donna could have run circles around us – it was tough to keep up with their endless energy, but a heck of a lot of fun trying!

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