Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Long Way Home

We decided to return home via the northerly route through Quebec and Ontario.  Sure, gas prices are higher, but Canadian money is so much prettier, AND they have Tim Hortons.  Being a coffee junkie, I just love Tims.  :)  We dropped back down into the US at Sault Ste. Marie and drove across Michigan's Upper Penninsula, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota.  Most nights we camped in the Honda...

...But one night we stayed in a "covered wagon," enclosed in quotation marks because it had a hard top and electricity. ;-) There was just something not quite right about blow drying my hair in a covered wagon. This was at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota, and was way cool! Wilder authored the "Little House" series, and I was a hard-core LIW geek in 5th and 6th grade. It was really neat to be in De Smet, site of the "Little Town on the Prairie" and some of the other later books.
 From there, it was down to Badlands and Wind Cave National Park, where we had a PR run for wildlife sightings:  in 5 miles we saw pronghorn antelope, deer, a huge (close to 200) herd of elk, prairie dogs, and a buffalo!  Later that afternoon we hiked up Scotts Bluff in Nebraska.  Northwestern Nebraska was a pleasant surprise.  There are actually some hills there and we are definitely going back. 
A fierce little storm blew through but didn't produce much rain.
After a couple of days visiting Chris's pop in Rifle and a couple of days running the North Fruita Trails (including Zippity Do Dah and Chutes 'n Ladders) in Colorado, we blitzed across Utah and spent the night in Great Basin National Park.
I don't get up before my coffee...
We climbed Wheeler Peak which was super awesome.  It's over 13,000 feet and the 2nd highest in Nevada!
We made it!  I always have to check the summit register for people I know.  Didn't see any familiar names this time but usually do.  Not surprising since Great Basin is pretty out there.
We spent the night at Valley of Fire State Park and the next day climbed Mt. Charleston, north of Vegas.  It now ranks as one of my favorite mountains.  We did the 18-mile loop.  Had we known how runnable the trail was--and had we been better acclimatized--we would have been running instead of hiking!  Bristlecone pines, the oldest living things on Earth, were all over the place.  The photo below was taken just off the summit.

Finally made it home just before Labor Day weekend -- 2 months, 10,000 miles & lots of great memories.


Anonymous said...

Tim Horton's - one of the best memories of a few weeks in Montreal a few years ago...that and seeing Rush at the Bell center (and the Habs vs. the Leafs the next night ;^)

Of course, the rest of your trip home looked O.K. ;P


RunSueRun said...

Hey Mongo, I saw Rush in Montreal, too... around 1982 or 83. Too funny!

ultrarunnergirl said...

Sounds like another fun adventure. Great photos. I grew up just 10 miles south of the Nebraska border and I did NOT realize it had redeeming qualities, so thank you for enlightening me!
Hooray for the Element - we adore ours. Every time we go to a trail run, someone else has a new one.

Michael Caton said...

Scottsbluff is pretty cool, I stopped there back in 2008. I think the Black Hills were an even bigger pleasant surprise. That's a neat part of the country that not enough people get to see.

Sunshine Girl said...

2 months and 10,000 miles?!?
Ohmygoodness, ohmygoodness. That's my kind of vacation! And 48 summits? Damn, girl!