Our final stop in our July 4th West-ward vacation was the great state of Utah. My grandma's sister, Aunt Leona, lives in Roosevelt, and we wanted to see her! I've missed her since I saw her last year, and Dallin has missed flirting with an older woman. (He fell in love with her last summer.) We arrived at her house late Wednesday night. We had enough time to get a good night's rest, and then we were off to the 42nd Annual Ute Indian Tribe Pow Wow the next morning. This was my first time experiencing a pow wow. In fact, it was Daddy, Kaiden, and Dallin's first time also. Dallin and I had a good time, but Kaiden instantly fell in love with the whole idea, and wouldn't stop watching for anything! Not even to get food! Me-if I heard we were going to get fry bread from one of the food vendors--I was all over that. You didn't have to tell me twice!! We went to the Pow wow on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. My mom took a BUNCH of pictures. Here some of the pictures she took:
This was during the opening ceremonies. A Pow wow is like a big dance competition, and everyone is encouraged to participate! Even the little guys like these kids.
These were my favorite dancers. They were jingle dancers, and they have bell-like pieces on there dresses, that makes noise as they dance to the drums. I want Mommy to make me a dress like theirs. A little jingle dancer To be in the actual contest, you had to be dressed in Indian dress. But between dances they would have inter-tribal dancers that anyone could participate in. Kaiden was out their every inter-tribal. We even saw a rainbow!
Another little guy. So cute! Isn't she beautiful. She had on a buckskin dress that was so pretty! This was a fancy shawl dancer. They were pretty neat to watch also. Look at all the detail that goes into the dresses. And they are handmade. These were the drummers that were right next to where we sat. There were groups of drummers scattered all around the circle, and they each took turns singing, while the dancers danced. These guys were called Eyabay. I saw that they took 1st place in the drum competition. The pow wow went on into the night.
This was one of the Indian Princesses. She had to be able to speak native Ute, among other things. She was also a traditional dancer.
A fancy dancer. This guy was one of Daddy's favorites to watch.
Kaiden hopes this will be him one day! I can't wait to get the opportunity to go again, and neither can Dallin or Kaiden. Except next time, we want to be in the right clothes!!
On our way from South Dakota to Utah, we stopped for a day in Wyoming to a cool historic site, and a church landmark. I may only be five, but I know my info about these places! Ok, my mom might be helping me a eensy, tiny bit. . . .anyway. . . first we stopped at Independence Rock. It was this huge rock that people from a long, long, long, time ago used as a landmark, when they were going from the east side of the U.S. to the west side. And here is the crazy part, they didn't drive like we did...they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. People who were walking on the Oregon trail, or the Mormon trail, or other trails looked for this rock to make sure they were staying on the trail! When they got to it the would climb it just like we did! They would also write their names on the rock. I think it was called Independence Rock because that is when the first group of people got to the rock. On Independence day, or July 4th! (See I told you I payed attention!)
It didn't look that steep from the bottom, but when we started going up..it was very steep! After a very strenuous couple of minutes, (ok, yes I thought I was going to die from a heart attack!), we made it to the top. Here is the view from the top! Awww....what a cute family, except for the crazy boy in the GAP t-shirt! See, look, here are names carved in the rock from Cowboy and Indian times, July 4th 1850. How cool is that? Oh, and this one is from Hippie times! Awesome! Here's another old one!
After we saw Independence Rock, we went to a place a couple miles down the road called Martin's Cove. Being LDS (or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, if you want the whole name!), this was a landmark in our church's history. A lot of my friends will probably already know this, but a lot might not, so I will fill you in on some details. Our church was started a long time ago in the East. For a while the headquarters were in Kirtland, Ohio, then the members were driven out, and stayed in other places, and settled again in Nauvoo, Illinois. After a while the members were persecuted and driven out again. This time the church members got all they could gather in a covered wagon, or pull in a handcart, left their homes and traveled a hundred, thousand, million, trillion miles where they finally settled in Salt Lake City, UT. This was not an easy trek for them. They traveled through bad weather, cold weather, and they were tired and hungry. Oh yes, and they walked the whole way!!! Over mountains too!! Anyway, one group stopped at this place, Martin's Cove. It was freezing winter, and they had run out of food. So they stopped in this cove until food and help was brought to them. Some stories were very sad, and a lot of members lost their loved ones, while waiting for help, from starvation and mainly from being too cold! So now, that I've given you a brief summary of the history of my church, let's move on to what we did there.....:)
This place had lots of hand carts that you could pull on a trail to the cove, and then you could hike around in the cove and hear different stories about the pioneers. My daddy thought that it would be a grand idea to let us experience pulling a hand cart, so we could see how the early members of our church did it. Side note: the boys, Mommy and I, went to this place last year, with my grandparents, and we liked it so much that we wanted my daddy to see it too. We hiked around the cove and knew how long it was, but we didn't pull handcarts. Ok, now back to the story, So Daddy wanted us to pull a handcart and hike for 4 miles round trip. Sounds like a piece of cake right? Well, it was hot! And mommy thought maybe we were to wimpy, but Daddy wouldn't take no for an answer. Did I mention that it was hot!! So we started our trek. It was fun for the first mile. Daddy and Kaiden pulled it and me and Dallin rode in the wagon. Then mommy took a turn in the wagon! And she calls me a princess??
This was the view looking out of the handcart. I was starting to think that this was a piece of cake! I was having a good time riding in the back! So was Dallin! And then, we had to park the cart and do a two mile hike around the cove. No prob, my dad loves to hike and we do LOTS of hiking, even when there is a lot of snow on the ground--so this would be totally fine!! Well, notice that there are no pictures until the end. That would be because it started to rain...and thunder. So Mommy put her camera away. And we still hide two miles to hike. If she could of taken pictures, she would of gotten pictures of Dallin dying to use the bathroom, because his belly hurt. Or she could of gotten a picture of the monster gnats that were eating us alive because we didn't wear any bug spray! Or she could of gotten pictures of Daddy having to carry me the whole way, because I was to hot and tired to walk anymore! Did I mention is was hot??? Luckily for us, some people that worked there came by on a motorized cart and hauled me, Dallin and Mommy back to the beginning where my Grandma was waiting. Daddy and Kaiden met up with my Pa, and they brought the hand cart back. Here they come! Ha ha! Look me and Dallin jumped in like we walked the whole way! We didn't see these carts till we were about to leave! Darn it! This was just my size! Maybe next time! Kaid was pretty tired, but proud he made it the whole way! Maybe that mop on his head kept him cool! :) It was evening, and we still had a four hour drive to my Aunt's house in Utah! Time to go! Looking back, I'm glad that we pulled the handcarts. Even though I was miserable, I got a little, eensy, tiny taste of what the early pioneers of my church had to go through as they made their journey west to Salt Lake. And for that, I am grateful!
After we visited the Badlands, we headed 1 hour west to a town called Keystone, South Dakota. South Dakota is a funny state, because all of driving to the Badlands, the scenery was just flat plains. Then we got to Badlands, and you know what they looked like..and then when we got to Keystone, we were in the mountains! Daddy loved this part of South Dakota, and he is already planning things to do when we go back! I would have to agree with him, this area is pretty cool! The first thing we did when we got to Keystone is eat! Ok-maybe one not so great thing about the Black Hills area is the food. Let's just say I've had better...but yes, I know, we probably just didn't eat at the right places! Anyway, after we had dinner we drove up to Mt. Rushmore. WOW!! Considering I am five, and I have no clue who the people on the mountain are, it was still really cool! We didn't stay very long, because it was dark and then we had to go to our hotel. The next morning we went to a park called Bear Country USA. Mommy called it Jurassic Park. It was a park that you drove around in, and the animals weren't in cages. They just walked around where ever they wanted too. We saw elk.. ...wolves.. mt. goats...(ok, I guess these guys couldn't roam wherever they wanted to; ramming hazards maybe?)... ...cougars...(and, they couldn't roam wherever either; being eaten alive hazards maybe?)... ..black bears... ...bears fighting... ...bears being chill... ...buffalo.. ...baby wolves... ...grizzly bears...(again, she couldn't roam free, I'm sure because she would eat us!)... ...baby bears...awww.... and we got to ride a train! A tractor train!! Dallin was excited! He loves tractors, and he loves trains! The best of both!! Kaiden would be mortified that Mommy is posting this picture, because he thought he was way too cool for this! Mommy and Grandma watched while we rode. After Bear Country, we went to Big Rush Goldmine. It was fun! We toured an old mine, that people used to get gold from! Then we panned for gold ourselves! It was kinda hard... but then we figured it out, and the best part is that now.... we are rich!!! That's right? See those little tiny specks? Yeah, that's gold--that I panned!! I'm rich now! Hmm...what should I spend my earnings on??? Oh yeah, notice the one on the left, and how there is nothing in it? Well, apparently Kaid didn't figure out the panning technique and he dumped all his soil into the water. Bummer! Stinks to be him! See, we're so happy because we are now rich!
After becoming rich, we drove a little ways to a state park called Custer St. Park. It was a crazy drive to get there. We drove up and down mountains and I felt like I was on a roller coaster. Have I ever told you how Daddy drives cars for a living? Well, I think he thinks he is a race car driver, and was flying on these mountain roads. Again, Mommy was getting a little stressed out! Especially because the side of the mountain roads had views like the one above! We stopped at a look out point. That is Mt. Rushmore behind us! These bridges were Daddy's favorite part of the drive. He loved them so much he made Mommy take a picture. They were called pig tail bridges. See, they really do look like pig tails! By the way, I'm glad none of us get carsick, because this is how the drive was the whole way up and down the mountain, to get to the state park! After we left the Black Hills National Forest, and Custer State Park, we went back to Keystone and did the most fun part of the trip for all of us kids! We rode the Alpine slides, and we loved it! In fact, we loved it so much, we decided to go again the next morning, and we even talked Pa into coming down with us this time! After the Alpine slides, we went back to Rushmore to see it during the day, and hike some trails around it. Oh, and yes, junior ranger here also! Man, I'm gonna have to remember to put these on my resume! After Rushmore, it was time to leave Keystone, and head toward Wyoming. On our way out of the Black Hills, we stopped at Crazy Horse. Coming from a Native American background, we were a little excited to see this place. It was pretty cool. And they are still working on it! When it gets finished, it will be Crazy Horse pointing to the mountains, sitting on a horse. We loved South Dakota, and can't wait to go back! But it was time to move on. Next stop...Independence Rock and Martin's Cove in Wyoming.