Mountain View

As Clark W. Griswold said upon entering “Walley World” in National Lampoon’s Vacation…

“We made it dammit, we made it!”

Yes, I’m back!

I survived a week of camping and backpacking in the Big Horn Mountains near Buffalo, Wyoming.

Some of the highlights…

*We visited Mount Rushmore, fun as always, but it was a bit of a disappointment for our troop not to be able to take part in the flag lowering ceremony at the park (Park policy has changed not to have Boy Scout Troops participate). However, it was cool to see a dad from our troop recognized for his military service in Iraq (things you learn).

*With the exception of one night, we had beautiful weather!

*Including a couple of day hikes, I hiked nearly forty miles during the trek with only one tiny blister!

*We got the chance to see some beautiful scenery…the highlight came after a climb to Crater Lake!

*At our highest point (Crater Lake), we were at nearly 10,300 feet above sea level!

*Our troop had a great time fishing the lakes we visited.

Of course, every trip presents a few challenges…

*On Day 2, during which we were hiking approximately ten miles, one of our adults was experiencing knee pain. We changed our camp location a bit, he rested on our layover day and we “lightened” his load for the hike back, which all proved to be helpful.

*Our water pumps which we used to filter our drinking and cooking water gave us problems throughout the trip.

*Near the end of the trek we had an outbreak of diarrhea with about half of our boys.

*We had a shortage of toilet paper. (See above!)

*At a couple of camping & fishing locations the flys were in attack mode!!

*On our final night in Wyoming we had a very strong thunderstorm with wind, rain and lightning. Not a lot of fun when you’re attempting to keep your tent from winding up in Kansas!

*The second vehicle in our crew experienced a blown gasket on the drive home. It was an expensive repair and it required the adult leader to rent a car for the rest of trip home and then return to Sioux Falls a few days later to pick up his van. The good news was it happened near Sioux Falls and not out in the middle of nowhere and also, a couple of other troop vehicles were able to provide assistance!

All in all, it was a great trip and more than likely, my final “High Adventure” trip with the troop. It was also probably the last trip I’ll be able to take with both of my boys, so it was a special one for me!

Enjoy the pics!

At Mount Rushmore

My boys & I...ready to hit the trail!

My load to carry!

On the trail.

Morning reflections on Grace Lake.

A rushing stream.

Sunrise over Cliff Lake

Our campsite at Cliff Lake

Me at Crater Lake

Crater Lake...elevation-10,300 feet.

Crater Lake-Big Horn Mountains

The view of another campsite on the climb down!

Resting a tired foot!

Me at Lake Solitude

My view for the entire son's backside!

We made it!

My son & I at Devils Tower in Wyoming

At Badlands National Park in South Dakota.