Black Elk Peak Hike

We hadn't been on a long hike in awhile and so we decided to hit the Black Elk Peak trail in South Dakota's Black  Hills. It's a pretty popular hike and I was quite surprised Joshua was willing to go play among the crowds. But the trail was long enough that even though it was busy we quickly outpaced a lot of the casual hikers and got away from crowds. 

The end of the hike is quite steep and ends in very uneven stone stairs that don't quit. We were very satisfied every time someone expressed they couldn't believe we were doing this carrying a baby as they were barely able to carry themselves up it. It was always fun to see how surprised people were to see a 3 month old baby 7 miles into a trail.

Atop the mountain is a stone fire lookout built in the 1930's. From there you can look down at the Cathedral spires that interrupt the landscape. They are a beautiful texture amidst the green pines and look like scaled up versions of when you let wet sand drip into pillars.

After we wandered into the Custer state park to have a dip in the water. Roslyn was medium okay with it and we really enjoyed it. It was about this point that we started swapping showers for dips in the lake. We were finally in an area where the water and air were warm enough, and it was so lovely! Put Joshua in such a good mood he let us go to the tourist shop and wait in line for soft serve ice cream.


Badlands National Park & Hippie Hole

After Ohio we drove straight toward the Badlands. Took a night to camp in Iowa to get there, had to resist they myriad of Wall Drug signs, and some pullovers to feed Roslyn but we made it to the Badlands National Park as the sun was setting. We had the overlook to ourselves, national parks at night are the best. Joshua had never been and I was very excited for him to get to view the vast stunning landscape. He ran down the walkway with my camera getting more excited as he saw more and more of it come into view.

The striations and bursts of red running horizontally through the rock at exactly the same elevation all the way across these peaks of rock towers is a stunning view. They stretch out from this canyon for quite a distance and kind of take your breath away. After we had our fill of gazing we used the rest of the sunlight to get closer to some rock formations to climb on get up close to the texture.

The next day we went on a little hike among the landscape, soaked up some sun and soaked ourselves in sweat. We wanted to explore a bit more but the heat of the day started taking over and we had abort further exploration. Instead we headed to a place Joshua randomly found on the map called Hippie Hole. 

Hippie Hole was a hike down to a watering hole that you jump off of a cliff into. This activity was on my trip bucket list, and he was making it come true. The hike in was supposedly only 1/4 mile and we were still a bit novice at how to carry Roslyn. We figured it since it was a short distance the hike would be simple, it was popular with the locals, must be easy. Nope. Regretted not bringing the carrier, but not early on enough to want to turn back for it. The hike down was intensely steep down a slidy dirt forest. Roslyn was not happy and had quite the screaming bout. We had to walk down steep slidy portions, hand her to the next person, and so on, down this trail that was way more than 1/4 mile. Then we had to cross running water over big boulders. (It was safe, I promise! I'm being a bit dramatic to express our headspace in the moment) But we did have to think about it and we passed her back and forth as we wound to the watering hole feeling very dejected. Then we emerged to this sunny patch of rock with lovely pools of water and tons of kids and puppies running around, and the cliff jumping rock.

We afterwards admitted it was worth it and we had a fabulous time hanging out. The hike back up was not a problem at all, we found a different path, Roslyn was in a good mood, etc. Turns out maybe the hike down wasn't all that bad and was tainted by some exhaustion and too much crying. The excursion had been saved though and I got to do my cliff jumping. We then spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the sun at a lovely campsite we found for free nearby. We were very glad we stuck with it and didn't turn around!


Cincinnati Bound

We had finally arrived in Kansas, it was about 105 degrees and humid. Since Walter has no AC we pulled into a lake to hang out for awhile while it cooled down before we continued. Sadly it was so windy there that Roslyn could not nap, too hot to put her in the van to nap, and when we went to get in the lake it turned out there were some gross dead fish on the shore. We didn't like Kansas. That night we rolled into Kansas City, Missouri to stay with our friend Liz. We showed up smelly, unshowered, hungry, no clothes clean, dirty van, whiny baby and she showed us compassion. She let us shower, helped us get laundry started, had an extra clean outfit for Roslyn, and took us to a fabulous taco place, then let us sleep in her fluffy clean bed. She fixed us and we were very grateful, plus we loved getting to spend some time with her.

Next up we drove and drove and arrived late in Louisville, Kentucky to stay with my little sis, Erika. We showed up at about 1am and we hung out with her and Justice for a bit and then spent the next morning with them. It was nice to get some one on one time with them before arriving in the constant busyness that would be Cincinnati.

We got to Cincinnati and kicked it off with a Father's day party with about 20 people. It was so great to see so many people and get to introduce Roslyn. She became overwhelmed and wasn't in the best mood, but it was still a great get together. She got to finally meet the rest of  her aunts and uncles! Mallorie and Tim were an easy sell but Colton I wasn't so sure about. Then on an outing she fell asleep in his arms and he was so proud. Since that he's pretty into her too :) She also got to meet her kitty cousins and one of them really really wanted to nap in her basket with her.

We also took a week to stay at Mallorie and Tim's house which gave us a nice calm space to recoup everyday, they were at work. We also got to spend some amazing quality time walking the bike trail, sipping drinks on their deck, and going to dinner that was all spontaneous. We've never gotten to spend time with them like that before and it's a big gem of the visit for me.

We threw miss Erika a bridal shower. Also a fabulous way to see a bunch of family at once. It was beautiful and I enjoyed getting to celebrate her and be there in person!!

We snuck in a lot of naps. Roslyn got the most naps but we had lots of others willing to watch her if we wanted to sneak one in too.

Roslyn got to meet her future BFF Gideon. We hung out with our friend's the George's for almost a whole day. Playing at the playground, eating food, waterpark, a game involving whipped cream. It was a big chunk of time and we were so thankful for it.

A lot, like a lot, of ice cream was consumed. Green Man Twist, run by my lady Katy, was the favorite of course. We got it with friends, neighbors, family, and even on a drive home in a downpour. Seattle has like no soft serve so I took it wherever I could get it!

All the great grandparents were a hit of course!

We played top golf with my family and Josh's. It was way more fun than I wanted to admit. I also wasn't half bad :)

We luckily were also able to attend another FC Cincinnati soccer game. I was very excited to put Roslyn in her little ear muffs. She loved them and dozed through most of the game. She didn't even wake up when they scored and everyone was cheering. Then after the game were fireworks, we all watched for Roslyn's reaction more than we watched the fireworks I think. She seemed intrigued, definitely not scared. This girl isn't scared by anything we've found so far. 

Josh's mom has a pool so she bought her a suit and Roslyn went for her first swim. This was the first time she didn't cry when we put her into water. She didn't smile or seem to really enjoy it but she didn't hate it either.

We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and my parent's watched Roslyn. We went to Please for dinner and took the typical bathroom selfie with their tile :) It was fabulous to have free babysitting!

Then as a last stop before we headed out west we ran up to Cleveland to visit one of my oldest friends. We have been pen pals since freshman year of high school. We got to meet her girlfriend and all her cute pets. We hadn't really ever visited Cleveland. We had a wonderful time and the city had lots of beautiful spots and tasty food.

 Then we were back to living in Walter and exploring outside...