Memoir is my favorite genre. I find it FASCINATING, because it's truth-y. It's not like biography and autobiography, which are hemmed in by pesky things such as verifiable facts and chronologies. Memoir is one person's truth. It's how THEY see things, which teaches me something about the way I see things. Today, when I bailed from the the buggiest hike any human has ever attempted, I grabbed a couple of quiet minutes with Marion Roach Smith, and lo and behold! read about nothing other than perspective. Ah! The serendipity! On a day where we were climbing spires to get a different view, getting up close and far away from amazing faces chiseled into rock, and learning about how people with disparate points of view (artists and engineers) can come together to create something beautiful, it really got me thinking.
Gentle readers, throughout this journey, you've been getting my take on things. On a day where we came face to (four big stone) face(s) with the idea of really noticing the scale of things, I've decided to see what my fellow travelers have to say about the day we all shared. And so, without further ado, I give you THE PETT MEN.
Five Takes on the Day that are NOT MINE
CARTER, age 5 Tagline: I'm not a little. I'm a BIG little.
Well, we watched a movie, we went to Mt. Rushmore, we went to Crazy Horse, we jumped on the trampoline and went in the pool, we climbed rocks, and that's it.
I was always scared every time on the rock climbing. So we went up the highest things and I thought I was going to fall down because that rock was not so big. But I was safe because of Spencer. But I thought he wasn't going to catch me, but Dad promised I'd be ok. There were a lot of rocks. And I got a snow globe.
And I love the fire and we ate near the fire.
High: Going on the trampoline
Low: Being scared.
Owen, age 11
Tagline: No tagline.*
*Editor's note: Who doesn't want a tagline? Apparently, OWEN.
We had bacon and pancakes for breakfast. Then we drove to Custer and we couldn't do anything there so we had to go to the Black Hills and hike there. We hiked there and Carter, Landon, Dad and I went on a hike to the top of the mountain and then we went down.
Landon went with Mom back to the RV and Dad, Spencer, Carter and I went on another hike to the top of a peak. The hike was long and climbing up the peak was very hard. But once we got up and down from the peak, the walk down was easy.
After we got in the RV and had lunch, we headed to Mt. Rushmore.
We went and learned how Rushmore was built and gotback in the RV and drove to Crazy Horse. At Crazy Horse, we watched a movie about the history behind the monument. The people are still in process of building the monument.
After that, we looked at it one more time and drove to the camp. We got our bathing suits on, went down to the pool and trampoline and stayed down there for an hour and a half-ish.
I built a fire and had dinner.
Hiking to the peak with Dad, Spencer, and Carter
Low: Being in the RV driving around
Spencer, age 13 Tagline: I'm not sulky, Mom. I'm just tired.
I woke up in the morning and I felt tired and had a throbbing headache. I ate a yogurt and showered. Then, we proceeded to Custer where nothing happened. We went there and got rejected.
Then, we proceeded to some weird state park with a lake.
Black Hills National Forest, I think. We went on the wilderness hike.
Then I fell off a tree and got, as Landon would say, boo-boos. Then we climbed up this LEGIT mountain that was extremely high up with Owen, Carter, Dad and I. We passed Carter from rock to rock, sometimes lightly tossing him.
And then we went to Mt. Rushmore which was very interesting to learn how they built this wonderful sculpture. And then we went to Crazy Horse and learned about all of the American Indian culture there. (Editor's note: Here's some of Crazy Horse's family tree. The names are AMAZING!)
I felt like crap all day and I wanted to go home (well, home as in the RV).
Once we were at the RV place, we went to the bouncy thing and then to the pool. After the pool, I took a shower with Carter and taught him the Melinda Brown Duncan Vine. Then, I ate dinner and now I'm going to drink a Vernor's by the fire and play pool with some motorcycle guy (aka Owen Pett).
High: Climbing to the top of the peak
Low: Feeling crappy all day
Jason, age 41
Tagline: Further up and further in! But mostly just further UP.
We woke to a beautiful morning. I took a shower in the best camp shower I've seen. Great water pressure, nice tile floor.
Made breakfast for the family with Jen including bacon on the griddle… Yum.
Concluded with Jen that we should hike in the morning then see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse in the afternoon so that we didn't lose the kids too early in the day. Little did I know that I would lose Jen early in the day...Whoops.
We headed for a hike we read about in Custer State Park, and upon arrival were told that the tunnel we needed to go through was 8'4" wide.
We measured the the RV and damned if it wasn't 8'4" exactly. I wanted to go for it, and I probably would have if the tunnel was 8 feet six inches, but even my aggressive nature couldn't go for it at exactly the number, so we headed for another hike closer to Mount Rushmore.
The six of us set out on our 3 mile loop through the woods and we couldn't see much. Spencer and Jen lagged behind (apparently Spencer was getting a "boo-boo" but I was none the wiser) while the rest of us moved forward and decided to climb one of the spires to get to a higher vantage point.
Hurling Carter over tree branches and carrying Landon through the thicket of the first 50 yards wasn't the most fun, but once it cleared and we headed up the mountain it was a joy to be going with Landon and Carter, who typically don't climb such peaks, but I thought, Why not? Let's give it a try. It was especially great when we reached the peak and were able to get above the trees to see the view.
Upon reaching the top, we saw Spencer and Jen below and headed back down to join them.
When we got to them, it appears that both of them had had it...only a half mile in. (Editor's note: I've morphed from Willie Nelson to sad, SHORT, mosquito bite-ridden pilgrim).
The mosquitoes were biting and Jen was DONE. O and Carter and I wanted to venture forward to climb another spire and convinced (sulky, err.....I mean tired) Spencer to come with us. Landon went with Jen, much to her chagrin.
Over the next 45 minutes I only put my child's life "in danger" twice - there were only a few times I had to hurl Carter's body up or lower him down into the arms of Spencer or Owen, so it couldn't have been that bad - and we made it to the top. (Note for child services....they were never actually in danger. Carter just thought he was.)
After making our way back to the RV, we had a quick lunch and headed for Mount Rushmore. Upon arriving, it was very cool to see it just appear when rounding the cornerfrom the road. And while I'm not proud of this, Jen and I briefly debated doing our own version of "Look kids! Big Ben!" and keep on driving. But we didn't, and we're very pleased by the decision, because Mt. Rushmore was far cooler than we expected.
Crazy Horse was next, and I gotta say, I was extremely disappointed. Oh well. You can't win them all.
We headed back to the campground for a nice evening of bouncy pillow, pool, and steak on a grill graciously provided by our next door neighbor from Pennsylvania. Thank you, Don. Another campfire laid by the bigs (Owen this time), Titos and olive juice, a discussion about life, love, and the meaning of it, and an early bedtime. Another great day with the family.
High: Reaching the peak with the bigs and the BIG little
Low: Crazy Horse. Total letdown
Landon, age 3. Tagline: Be very afraid!Because I have no fear.
At this writing, he's in bed. Therefore, his perspective is 💤💤💤💤
Here are some images from Landon's day. Draw your own conclusions, good reader.
Which leads me to the Quote(s) of the Day:
Landon: Can we eat these?
When Landon comes to us looking like a chimney sweep, Jason has the audacity to actually CLEAN HIM UP. He was NOT amused.
Landon: LISTEN. That's enough. I don't like your attitude.
You can imagine about how well THAT went over. And how many times he's heard us say that refrain this week.
Gratuitous SUPPER Shot
And this pan. Oh, how hard you have labored this trip. Gold star🌟 to you, my friend. And to Kate, who recommended bringing a big skillet.🌟 And to Don from Pennsylvania, who let us use his grill. 🌟
Which every way you look at it, up close or far away, from whatever your perspective....
...it was a memorable, truth-y day.