Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 38- Monica Gummow

This morning I woke with a start. I heard someone all the way in dream land when they made an exciting statement: “I think that’s an elk up there!” I sprang out of my sleeping bag and poked my head out of the tent to see for myself the first elk of our trip. Sure enough, as the sun rose over a large hill near our campsite, on top stood a lone elk grazing on grass in the twilight hour. Corey,Brandon, Steve, and I stood watching the perfect sight before snapping some pictures and heading over for breakfast.

After eating our morning meal prepared by Heather, the group headed off for our tour of Wind Cave in the Wind Cave National Park . When the tour began we walked down farther and farther in the ground, our lowest point reaching 183 feet below the surface. The cave was spectacular; the more we descended into the earther, the more we found. The tunnel we followed was filled with formations such as frostwork, boxwork, and cave popcorn. The most notable feature of the cave was the large caverns that opened in random places. The huge room like areas gave us all a chance to marvel at the beautiful colors and formations all around us. We were all very sad when our tour had to end, many of us could have easily stayed the rest of the day.

As we left Wind Cave National Park, we had a six hour drive ahead of us before we would reach our next destination. Many of us passed the time in the van as we normally do: reading, doing homework, listening to music, or catching some zzz’s. However some of our group knew that today was special and although they continued on with their normal van activities, they were sure to stay alert.

After some hours of waiting, we were all excited to see what we had been looking forward too: we got our first glimpse at the Rocky Mountains. Lander, WY was the final destination the final destination today which meant we were able to drive straight toward the Wind River Range of the Rockies. For one of our group members, this was the first time she had ever seen real mountains, Brittany stared in awe at how massive the peaks seemed, even though they were still roughly 70 miles away.

As the mountain peaks grew bigger and bigger, the vans drove closer and closer to Lander. Once we arrived in town we made our camp at the city park. Dinner was made and the group discussed some peer evaluations as our evening activity. Unfortunately for us flat-landers from IL, we are not quite used to these mountain temperatures. We all hurried to our tents after debrief to hide from the cold in our warm sleeping bags.
Hopefully by next rotation we will be somewhere warm and I won’t have frozen fingers from being the journal writer!! Until then, we miss all our friends and family at home. Stay cool ECOEE followers!

Love Much!

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