June 30, 2014


Last vacation post. And I saved the best for last.

Rt 16A winds through Custer State Park, up and over mountains connecting Keystone (where Mt Rushmore is) and the towns south. It is wooded, smaller than a two-lane road, and about 15 mph. There are multiple single-lane tunnels through the rock, cliffs, and lookouts, which have spots to pull off of the road for viewing.

While along a secluded section of our drive on Thursday, my husband and I decided to stop and look for rocks and pinecones to bring home (this is allowed in marked areas). We parked the Suburban on the side and began to carefully wander, me in flip-flops for pete's sake.

Bryon was searching for the perfect walking/fire-poking stick for our campfire that night and I was hunting for fresh pinecones for this Christmas, and minerals. I lucked out, collecting at least two dozen pinecones as we walked along. I quickly ran out of ability to hold everything and so I carried the pinecones in the front of my tank top, turned upward like an apron. Weeds tickled my belly as we climbed.

We found several nice specimens of white quartz, rose quartz, and mica schist that day. My inner rock nerd was ecstatic.

When we had wandered far enough from the road that we couldn't see or hear it anymore, we made out like animals. The air was sweet and soft on my skin and the ground crackled under my feet. My husband put his hand in my hair and held the back of my head while he kissed me, coming up for air only to smile and sparkle his eyes at me some more. The mountain wind whipped around us and the trees swayed. Best makeout session ever.

When we couldn't carry any more, we headed back to the vehicle. I snapped this photo before we pulled back onto 16A because the memories are sweet and I want to remember how the sun cut through the trees that day. There was much love in this forest, between us and around us.

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