X Marks the Spot

My family is very seasonally driven. Not unlike the Canada Geese who migrate in their long undulating Vs, we have certain places where we head certain times of year. Sometimes it’s to get a glimpse of a newly arrived migrant, sometimes it’s to take advantage of a breezy spot on a hot day, and sometimes it’s to see eagles fishing in between ice flows below a dam. And then there are times when it’s to see a stream cutting through its gorge during spring runoff. It’s for this very reason that Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve is becoming an annual event for us — I even wrote about it here almost exactly a year ago.

This year, it was a little less snow and a little more mud.

img_2512We captured video last year of our girl struggling on a trail and it’s become the quintessential video of her. In it, with boots so heavy with mud that they kept falling off, she digs in and makes her way up a steep hill equal parts frustrated with us for not helping her more and determined to make it herself. We play it back for her sometimes when she’s telling us ‘she can’t’ to remind her that ‘she can’ — she’s awfully strong and tenacious.

This year, she bee-lined for the same spot and even though it was muddier, she tamed that trail like no one’s business. On the way up it was slick, but she found a small, sturdy stick to use kind of like one would use an ice ax when ice climbing, but for mud.

img_2509As a mum, my first thought was that she’d fall on it and poke out her eye, but she handled it — and herself — with strength and confidence and agility. She trekked up and down that same trail not once, but three times.

img_2500And she was Darn Proud.

While I waited at the head of the trail, I snapped the requisite Big Blue photo…

img_2498I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my soul is made of Big Water.

We made our way down to the beach and had a picnic. The weather was perfect for it. Warm, but not hot. Breezy, but not a gale. Perfect. Then we played for a good long while.

img_2526I combed the beach for good skipping stones…

img_2517And found one that reminded me an awful lot of friends on Martha’s Vineyard.

I built a cairn.

img_2521Because when there are rocks, it’s what I do.

img_2530And I skipped stones & we played ‘Battleship’ (where you toss driftwood into the water and then try to hit it with a rock) until my arms were sore.

As we walked back to the car, I noticed something in the sky…

img_2502And I thought to myself that sometimes X does mark the spot.

With sore arms, muddy boots, and smiles, we made our way home.

The next day, inspired & feeling like I should follow the lead of my brave daughter, I decided to finally change the footman connectors on my spinning wheel.

img_2488They were original to the wheel and — like the drive bands for Lendrums — the plastic dries out and gets stiff. I’d been worried I’d mess it up the repair, but I’m happy to report the wheel is spinning like new again and it feels incredible. Sometimes you do just have to trust yourself, be brave, and go for it.

Elated with the excellent feel of my wheel, I’ve been spinning like a madwoman.

img_2533And last night I finished up the second braid of my current spin. One more to go and then I’ll be plying. The combination of my tuned up wheel & my impatience to see this finished project has really had me spinning away. I’ve definitely been stealing all the spare moments I have for it. After finishing up braid #2, I even stayed up late last night to prep the last braid of fiber so I’d be ready to start spinning asap.

img_2534Yes, indeed. I think sometimes X does mark the spot.

And the winner is….

Just a quick post today to share the winner of last week’s giveaway. You know the one…

weekendOne lucky reader will be receiving a hard copy of Jen Geigley’s brand new book, Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits. Full of gorgeous & fun quick knits for the whole family, we all know my Sliver & Retrograde

retrograde + sliver… won’t be the last items I knit from this wonderful collection.

Before I share who that lucky reader is, I’d first like to thank everyone who took the time to check out Jen’s new collection and enter the giveaway. I’d also love to thank Jen for inviting me to review her fantastic book, sponsoring this giveaway, and just for being awesome in general.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

The winner is…

shellssells

My dear shellssells — CONGRATULATIONS!  To claim your prize I just need you to email me at  knittingsarah[at]gmail[dot]com with your preferred contact email and mailing address. I’ll pass the info along to Jen and your book will be on its way to you.

For those who did not win, I want to remind you that you can purchase Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits as a hard copy of the book + a free PDF on Jen’s website here. You can also purchase individual patterns + the PDF ebook on Ravelry here. It’s also available on Amazon here, should that be your preference.

And of course, I encourage everyone to show Jen some love by following her on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated and congratulations to shellssells!

Fraught with Peril, Filled with Beauty

When I was a little kid in swimming lessons at the YMCA, I would run out of breath constantly because I was convinced orcas were in the pool with me, chasing me. I was absolutely sure they were always just outside my peripheral vision, poised to attack. I kept swimming, but I really never excelled at the front crawl because of it.  These days, I have learned to love swimming laps, but I’m still not great with the front crawl — there is something about that underwater view that always makes me uneasy.

When it comes to “wild water” (i.e. water that is, you know, outdoors and not a pool), I have to admit at this stage of the game that I’m afraid of water. We’re talking good, old-fashioned full-on irrational fear. I’ve always persevered to overcome this fear, or at least not be too limited by it, and I’ve had varying degrees of success. I love boats and being on the water, but there is something about that wild unknown below that still freaks me out pretty thoroughly. When I lived on the ocean during college I managed to work myself up to swimming daily and I really was pretty comfortable. I could bob around in the surf with the best of them and I came to truly love it.

Unfortunately, I’ve never really gotten over my distrust of murky water or river currents though and it shows pretty quickly when I’m in a canoe. It shows really quickly when I’m asked to get into any rivers or streams clouded by sediment. So when my husband told me last Tuesday night that instead of a day of hiking at Devil’s Lake State Parkhe instead wanted to start the day at Pewitt’s Nest there was some instant dread. And he didn’t just want to do what we did last time — where he takes the kids down Skillet Creek and I wait at the end. He wanted me to depart from my comfort zone and join them. I spent the next 16hours trying to not talk about it as much as possible knowing full well the crazy monologue in my head would ruin my hubby’s day. I mostly succeeded. Kind of.

Pewitt’s Nest, you see, is a deep gorge through which Skillet Creek flows. It is undoubtedly beautiful with its steep cliffs.

IMG_0185But to enjoy it you have to wade through this creek. Most of it isn’t too bad, especially if, like us, you don’t plan to go all the way down the creek to the trailhead. The hike is primarily through water that is only shin deep and the bottom has decent footing for most of the way with either sandstone or a sandy bottom. There is one spot, however, that is like this…

Cue the panic.

My hubby delivered the kids down at a safe spot and then came back for me. What ensued was pretty embarrassing. As soon as my feet disappeared into the silty water and then the water came up to my knees I started to hyperventilate. Involuntary tears flowed freely. My husband gave me his walking stick in addition to my regular walking stick to give me more security and he walked right beside me, most likely wondering how it came to be that he married a woman who is a good swimmer, but is terrified of knee-deep water. It was not great. I kept on, though, and as we neared the spot where the kids were I used the brim of my hat to hide my face while I cleaned up a bit, not wanting to add to my son’s already present low-level distrust of the situation. My daughter & Moose had no such qualms, thankfully, only glee.

Securely in a spot where we were far enough from the trail and most of the people, we were able to hang out and enjoy the scenery. We relaxed for a while and I was able to calm down and enjoy where I was.

IMG_0196I examined the ferns, inexplicably growing from the…

IMG_0194Insanely green walls of the gorge.

IMG_0193And the reflection of the creek on the sandstone formations high above was definitely a sight to see.

You would think the trip out would have been easier than heading in and I guess in a way it was. Sort of. I tried to focus on how pretty this place was.

IMG_0195The hyperventilating recurred, but I managed to hold back most of the tears. That’s improvement, I think. Sort of. As if to point out my ridiculousness, while I gasped for breath in the final leg of the hike my daughter doggie paddled happily next to the dog in the thigh-deep water. Of course, after all the fuss, it’s not lost on me that I made it out without tripping and falling in. No rogue orcas attacked. In fact, my shorts barely even got wet.

Having narrowly escaped the monsters of the deep in Skillet Creek, we headed to Devil’s Lake where we enjoyed our picnic. After which the kids and Mr Knitting Sarah swam in the lake, Moose took a load off, and I clicked away on my Rose City Rollers in my July Summer Sock Club Yarn from Feel Good Yarn Co.

IMG_0190A very busy, dog-friendly park, we were having a nice relaxing time when a well-meaning dad tried to let his little girl be in charge of holding the leash of their overly-friendly pitbull. With me in my camp chair and directly at face level with the animal, the dog lunged toward me so I quickly dropped my knitting to grab Moose who was a short tie-out. I was attempting to prevent these two creatures from meeting right in my face — even though the pitbull appeared very friendly, Moose can be very enthusiastic with new doggie friends and there was no way that I was not about to be creamed. At the last moment with the dog about a foot away, the dad grabbed to pitbull and we avoided incident, but in the fast-moving & crazy moment I managed to impale myself in the thigh with one of my US size 1 knitting needles.  I have never stabbed myself (or anyone else for that matter) with a knitting needle before and I can now attest to the fact that it does in fact hurt a fair bit and it’s suprisingly easy to make yourself bleed. Thankfully, I carry bandaids and a small first-aid kit with me at all times, so I was able to bandage myself up so I didn’t bleed all over my skirt on the ride home.

Sipping a much-deserved iced coffee, I was able to knit on my socks all the way home. I finished up the day by casting-off my Rose City Rollers.

IMG_0198(I’ll get some FO photos in proper light soon.)

Fraught with peril, filled with beauty, and complete with  a little blood loss, a few tears, and a lot of smiles and laughs, my little family made it home happy and tired from our very full day. This is what summer days are all about.

A Moment in Time

Earlier this week the kids and I were treated not only to a day spent with our good friend and her daughter, but we got to tag along with them on a trip to Old World Wisconsin. A living history site, Old World Wisconsin allows you to step back in time to the late 19th century when many European immigrants — including my own ancestors — were arriving in Wisconsin in search of new beginnings and a better life. The staff dresses in period costumes, authentic breeds of livestock graze happily in their pastures, and heirloom gardens accompany every homestead. None of us had been before and nothing could have prepared me for how incredibly awesome this place is.

My friend is an avid and very talented gardener, so we stopped and studied each garden.

IMG_0171
This one, which accompanied a home representing early German settlers, was my favorite. The fence is absolutely gorgeous. It makes me wish I had a green thumb!

We walked along to another homestead where the staff focused on demonstrating how flax was grown, processed, and ultimately spun and woven into clothing. This, of course, was one of my favorite parts.

IMG_0173
Next to a pasture with the oxen named Pete & Charlie, this gentleman was set up in a beautiful thatched roof barn and showed us how the flax was processed from stalk to the ready to spin fiber. It. Was. Incredible. I left all the more in awe of this beautiful fiber, the lovely linens with which I get to knit, and reconsidering (briefly) the days when my husband wanted to plant our yard in flax so that I could spin it.

My son really enjoyed this toolshop where he was allowed to try his hand at helping to carve a tool’s handle.

IMG_0177It was a dangerous spot because this kind of craft is really appealing to me, too. The last thing I need is another hobby!

My friend taught my daughter how to do laundry…

IMG_0176And she did not want to stop! We probably could have stayed here washing laundry until closing time and my girl would have been happy. She likes to help me hang laundry at home, too, so it makes sense. The only thing that lured her away from this spot was the promise of baby pigs in a neighboring manger.

As we walked along toward the slightly more recent 1880s town, I couldn’t help but notice that it was quiet. A real, true quiet. Nestled apart from busy roads and highways and without any motorized vehicles save for a few trams to help transport people around the park, the only sounds you could hear were those of nature and our own conversations. I could have taken a photo to share that moment in time with you, but it seemed inappropriate.  I can tell you, though, that was beyond the costumes and authentic homes of 200years ago, it was a moment in time that let me feel like the whole world stood still. Quiet. Peaceful. Unchanged.

As we waited for the kids to check out a chapel on a little hill, a tram came along and we hitched a ride back to the slightly more recent 1880s town where the kiddos were recruited to help water another large heirloom garden.

IMG_0179As we were walking away toward our lunch, one of the ladies from the garden stopped us to let us know she’d brought out some of the little girls’ Laura Ingalls Wilder dress-up clothes because my girl looked just the right size. My little lady bolted back to the house and by the time I caught up she was all dressed up, hoop skirt, bonnet, and all.

IMG_0180The shoes, of course, are not authentic.

I’m not sure who enjoyed this dress-up more — my girl or the ladies who work there or the families who passed by while she modeled. Suffice to say, she fit the costumes perfectly and we joked that she should definitely be recruited to model for the brochure.

We rounded out our day with a delicious little picnic that Mr Knitting Sarah had picked out for us (he didn’t come with us, but he did pick up all the food because he’s awesome like that) followed by a nice cold scoop of ice cream at the park’s cafe. To top this wonderful day off, we also got to spend a little time at our friend’s house, touring her gorgeous gardens and playing with her incredibly adorable puppy. What a day!

When we got home, I thought it was only right that I spin a little. You know, I have to do my part to keep history alive in the modern world.

MIMG_0166

This is my latest spinning project – I’m working on a traditional 3-ply for this Falkland from Dyeabolical. The colorway is Fate, PhD – this colorway was love at first site for me with the mix of blues and golds. It’s a far cry from the raw flax I watched them process and spin earlier in the day, but it’s spinning all the same and I can’t help but hope that I’m keeping a little bit of that tradition, that heritage alive.

We’re look forward to returning to Old World Wisconsin very soon again, there are some homeschool days in autumn of which we will definitely take advantage. There is much more to learn and for people like my friend and I (and probably you, too), to return to that moment in time where our handcrafts were an integral part of family life, to see the beautiful oxen at pasture and the care put into the heirloom gardens, and to experience the profound quiet — well, I think there’s something important in that. I’m so thankful there are still places where our history lives on and we can get a wonderful glimpse of this moment in time.

Adventure Boundary Waters: When Life Happens

Last week my son turned ten. He’s crazy tall and adventurous. He loves Calvin & Hobbes and the TV show River Monsters. He’s the most empathetic person I know and he would do anything for family and friends. And he loves fishing. For his ‘golden birthday’ we’d planned a trip to the Boundary Waters area of very northern Minnesota — we’re talking a couple miles from the border with Canada — so that we could hike and fish and do all the things that our boy loves.

Life happens though.

About a week before our departure, my husband injured his back. With our son so excited to go fishing ‘up north’ we didn’t have the heart to cancel, so we just decided that we’d leave our canoe which is heavy and not real practical to move or get into for someone with a back injury. If Mr Knitting Sarah was up for it, we’d rent a boat from one of the lodges and meanwhile the boy & I could fish from shore. Not ideal, but it would be ok. I did most of the packing and all of the lifting and off we went, Mr Knitting Sarah being a true trooper throughout.

The mosquitoes were… substantial. We’d brought along our taller tent so that if we were hanging at camp we could do so with comfy camp chairs in the tent and safe from the bloodthirsty bugs. Less than 50feet from the lake, we went to sleep listening to loons calling and awoke to them calling and racing maniacally up and down the lake at dawn. It was beautiful.

My son and I spent a fair bit of time using our campsites’ little lake access…

To explore with eyes and ears the water & surrounding forest. We were lucky in this trip in that we saw a black bear (the first ever for the kids & me), a moose and her calf, 3 baby foxes, loads of bald eagles, and a pair of peregrine falcons, among other wonders of the natural world.

With the mosquitoes taking over at camp, we took time to drive up to Grand Portage State Park for a hike up to the High Falls. The hike was short, but through a beautiful, thick forest…

IMG_9666With amazing lichen and moss…

IMG_9678And, of course, the crown jewel — the High Falls…

IMG_9674The other side of the gorge is Canada — the kids were almost as impressed by that as they were by the huge waterfall (really, the scale isn’t great here, that’s 120ft drop you’re looking at).

While on the North Shore we had a tip in Grand Marais from a local that we could catch trout and salmon in a couple hot spots…

We had no luck, but it sure was a great place to just hang out fishing. I could seriously live in this spot forever.

In fact, we found so many picturesque places…

IMG_9689Mostly with me and my boy throwing a line in the water while Mr Knitting Sarah rested his back and our girl played in the water with Moose. We decided to rent a boat Thursday to try to break the fishing shut-out for the birthday boy, but lo & behold on Wednesday night…

A northern pike — our boy’s trip dream fish — took the bait. We snapped this photo in a cloud of black flies and almost immediately after  Moose, the beloved wonderpup, started to freak out, rubbing his face all over. We got him into the car and piled in after him only to find his whole face ballooning to about twice its normal size in the most pronounced and severe allergic reaction I’ve ever seen. We were 30minutes from the nearest store to which we raced for benadryl. As we cruised toward town and got within cell range we discovered we were 3hours from the nearest ‘will definitely be there in the morning’ vet. We got Moose his benadryl which immediately calmed him and slowly but surely the swelling started to go down. Concerned with his history of allergies and worried that camping would not allow for a great recovery (not to mention the potential to encounter more black flies) we hurried back to camp, frantically broke everything back into the car, and started the long journey toward help should we need it and a clean hotel to allow our pup to recover.

The disappointment at cutting the fishing portion of the trip short was as palpable as the fear for our poor Moose.

The following morning, the majority of his head and face and returned to normal, but his jowls were still considerably swollen and he was exhausted from the meds and stress. It’s all how you choose to look at it though. Yes, it was terrifying to see Moose so sick. Yes, we had to give up the loons and the day on the boat and fishing. We traded it, though, for a two night hotel stay in Duluth including a trip to the very neat aquarium in town and some other sight-seeing as well as the reassurance that we’d have emergency vet care nearby should we need it. Moose got to go to a couple dog-friendly restaurants where he was appropriately babied and loved on and rested. Despite the unfortunate excitement that caused our return to civilization, we really did have a great time in Duluth. It wasn’t the vacation we’d envisioned by any means, but it was still grand. Life, after all, is always about perspectives and trade-offs and just making the most of the hand you are dealt.

We even made time for a quick stop at Yarn Harbor, the local LYS, in its new location. Yarn Harbor has a an exclusive line of colorways dyed by local dyers Three Irish Girls  that are inspired by the Duluth area and it’s somehow become a little tradition for me to pick one up when I’m in the area. This time I chose ‘Land of the Loon’…

IMG_9744Quite appropriate, I thought.

(This exclusive Duluth-inspired collection of yarns is also available online through Yarn Harbor, just so you know)

On the drive home, partly to give my hubby a chance to stretch his legs and back (which still hadn’t recovered as we’d hoped) and partly just because he’s sweet and he knew the dog being sick had been very stressful for me, we managed to find two other yarn shops along the way.

Kunert Kreations is right along highway in Gordon, WI and quite literally has a little bit of everything. We’d visited years ago on the way home from our last Boundary Waters trip and it was fun to pop in and see it again. Here, the kids each picked something for me to make for them.

My son picked this ‘northern pike colored’ yarn for a hat…

IMG_9745I’m thinking maybe a wurm, but haven’t decided yet.

And my daughter found this hot pink merino/silk from Louet…

IMG_9746I just finished spinning this fiber blend from the Louet June Spinzilla Pack before we left for vacation and was very impressed (more on that soon), so when my girl picked this and wouldn’t stop hugging it I knew it was coming home with us. She held onto it pretty much the whole 5+ hour drive home while she read.

Just south in downtown Spooner, Wisconsin is Northwind Book & Fiber. Now, just the fact that it’s a book and yarn/fiber store tugged at my heartstrings as a kind of a dream shop, especially if you throw in coffee or wine. To find a really good selection of both yarn and books when we entered was phenomenal. Thankfully, I managed to have some self control and picked just one item…

IMG_9748Three Feet of Sheep from Frabjous Fibers in a Merino Rainbow. I fully intend to turn these 8oz of fiber into one long rainbow striped yarn which will undoubtedly be beyond awesome. Oh, and both kids found books as well — win-win!

We arrived home and I immediately got Moose in the bath to make sure he was completely cleaned up and comfortable and the strangest thing happened — he made a very miraculous recovery. When I say ‘very miraculous’ I mean it — past allergic outbreaks with him have taken months to clear up and by the time we got home and he got his proper bath he was 100% fine. Phew.

Unfortunately, this happy ending did not hold true for poor Mr Knitting Sarah’s back. Over the weekend it took a severe turn for the worse and he awoke in the wee hours of Sunday morning with such severe pain that he was unable to move. Thanks to our tiny house which cannot accommodate a stretcher, 2 EMTs and 3 cops very kindy hoisted Mr Knitting Sarah out to an ambulance at around 4am yesterday morning and took him to the hospital. A few hours and a hefty dose of medication later, he was up and gingerly walking and we got to bring him home. It sounds like rest and physical therapy should help him heal and prevent this from happening again soon, but for the next few days I’ll be adding nurse to my daily duties to help get him rest up and ready to return to work.

I suppose with a less sunny attitude I could really view our family trips as being a bit cursed. The last trip to the Badlands our tent was obliterated by high winds and it ended up rainy, kind of cold, and with our son being sick most of the time, but we had an amazing time and strangely our memories of that trip are all good. This trip we had epic bugs, the dog’s extreme allergic reaction, and poor Mr Knitting Sarah’s back drama. Things kind of always go wrong. At the end of the day though, it’s the unexpected mishaps that make memories and while there were certainly some standout traumas, there were a lot of great times, too.

Playing in Lake Superior…

Hiking through the northern forests…

Incredible views…

IMG_9660And a very memorable 10th birthday for this young man…

  I’ve finally started to relax into a ‘this is just life’ mentality instead of dreading what’s going to go wrong next. Life happens and plans change and that’s ok. This is just life. And despite apparent setbacks and all the things that go wrong, a whole lot goes right. And we are making incredible memories along the way.

In the Badlands: It Was a Rather Blustery Day

Day two in the Badlands started here…

IMG_8793What a peaceful start to the day.

Once the sun was up, we hustled for a short hike up the hills behind camp. The view from the top looked like this…

IMG_8799You can pretty much see forever. And there were gorgeous rocks, like this…IMG_8797… with whose loose bits I built a small cairn…IMG_9041Of course.

I also found evidence of the ever-present bison…

IMG_8804I’m pretty sure they stopped at this overlook to gaze at our campsite and vibe me. Or to look for fresh sprouts to munch on. One or the other. For those who haven’t been in the presence of the great American Bison, they are big. They are generally 6-12ft long, up to 6ft + tall, and weigh anywhere from 700 to 2,000lbs. I tried to take a photo of all four hoof prints of this set of tracks, but there was no way to do so and also get my foot in the photo for scale. And for such large beasts, they are actually quite nimble which in my opinion is equal parts cool and disconcerting.

We spent a good hour tramping around the surrounding hills, occasionally stopping to call for coyotes…

Our youngest is the most particular about how to properly call coyotes. For such a young kid, she’s pretty darn good at it.

The temps started rising, so it was time to get back to the car for the pup. As I mentioned yesterday, dogs aren’t allowed on trails or in the back country in national parks, so if we all go off hiking our Moose waits in the car. Of course, this can’t happen if temps are warm, so when that’s the case my hubby & I take turns hanging out with him while the other hikes and plays with the kids. Honestly, if he wasn’t such an extremely good car dog (he goes pretty much everywhere with us, weather permitting) and wasn’t so clearly happy just to be with the family, we’d have boarded him for this trip. He is part of the family, though, and with the exception of this first full day in the park it was slated to be cool enough for him to hang in the car with no worries. He’s not a huge fan of camping (he’s kind of indoorsy), but he’s happy & relaxed enough just being with us…

IMG_8836So we took turns babysitting this big lug while the other hiked.

The kids & I spent a fair bit of time running around here…

IMG_8843And I played with the panoramic function on my new phone.

IMG_8842And when my leg tired, my hubby took the kiddos on a slightly longer hike along some game trails…

While the dog & I enjoyed the glory of the sunshade…

IMG_8830

And I cast-on a new project…

IMG_8839Togue Pond by Pam Allen in Quince & Co’s Kestrel. It turned out very appropriate as we probably saw somewhere around 75 kestrels in the park. This bird, however, is a nemesis for us when it comes to photography.IMG_9021This is pretty much what we get when we try to take photos of this beautiful bird. They tend to fly as soon as we get the camera out as evidenced by this photo, so for an actual photo where you can really see there bird, click here.

Now we did know that we had a wind advisory and it was clear that it was very (read: VERY) windy. We headed back to camp somewhat early because we thought there was a fair chance that despite lashing it down very well, the wind might blow the tent away a little. As we drove up, we were relieved to find the tent in place. The relief was short-lived, however, as there was tent flapping where there should be no flapping, so we knew something was wrong. It turns out the high winds had literally snapped one of our metal tent poles and grossly bent 2 others. After brief attempts with the mini-sledge hammer to straighten the bent poles and using our resources to try splint the broken pole, we admitted defeat. The zipper had had issues in the morning, too, so the tent was just beyond repairing. My husband headed into the collapsed tent to recover our things.

IMG_8833Poor sad broken tent!

We had a few options — including making an hour drive to Rapid City to buy a new tent — but at the end of the day, we did some creative reorganization and turned out 4-door hatchback into a mini-camper. This exercise was actually really fun and surprisingly not as uncomfortable as you might think.

The following day had much cooler temps and we enjoyed more hiking & wildlife viewing including…

Bighorn Sheep,

A coyote basking in the sun, numerous birds, mule deer, antelope, and more bison.

IMG_8855Rain loomed, however, and as it started to fall we decided to drive into the town of Wall for some dinner and to hopefully see a badger out and about as darkness started to fall on the drive back to camp. We saw no badgers, but it did rain rather heavily that night and it was chilly. The possibility of snow was not out of the question, but thankfully did not materialize. Making lemonade with our lemons, we agreed that in this second night in our improvised mini-camper that it wasa wonderfully  water-tight shelter.

Unfortunately this cold, wet morning was when our camp stove died.

To be continued…