After eleven million months of cold, blah weather (or so it has seemed), we had a beautiful day on Sunday!
Matt had to work in the morning, so I took the kiddos to the park for some energy-burning fun, then we went home for lunch and a nap.
After naptime, we wanted to get outside and enjoy the weather, so we headed west on Highway 44 out of Rapid City with the intention of looking for a couple of geocaches.
We went to an area called Falling Rock. This area wasn't originally on my Black Hills Bucket List, but had I known about it before Sunday, it would have been! This area is well known around here for being very dangerous. In fact, a rock climber died at this location just a few weeks ago.
Obviously, we didn't head out here to do anything dangerous, I just really wanted to see the area. In fact, once we realized where one of the geocaches that we were searching for was hidden, we quickly decided today wasn't the day to find that cache due to the steep decline we'd have to climb down to find it. Definitely not with the kids in tow!
So, we decided to just meander through the area and came across a trail. We started on the trail and could feel that we were ascending.
The views got better the further along the trail we went. There were ravines all over the place, and tons of trees and rocks! It was very quiet, aside from all the natural noise: birds, crickets, wind.....
The hills looked pretty sweet through the tree line.
Climbing, climbing, climbing.
At this point, we could tell that the view was going to be pretty awesome, simply based on the fact that we had been ascending for about 10 minutes.
Well, it was.
I look cool, calm, and collected in the picture below.
What you don't see is my pounding heart and sweaty palms, not from the physical response to the climbing, but from the mental response to my fear of heights.
The cliff we were on stopped at this.
This picture is a terrible representation of what it was, but it was the coolest thing. There is literally a hole in the rocks that goes all the way to the bottom of this "canyon." Probably a couple hundred feet down.
Matt and I both took turns inching out towards the ledge, laying on our bellies looking down while the other of us held onto the boys for dear life for fear that they would dart somewhere in their excitement.
There was a memorial at the top of this cliff, and I paid it no mind at first. Then I looked closer and learned that an 8 year old boy perished here in 2005. This made my already irrational fears kick into high gear, and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery a few moments more (without ever letting go of the boys), then headed back down.
I definitely have a respect for this place after our unplanned trip here. There have been several people stating on social media that it needs to be shut down to the public, since it has the potential to be so dangerous. But my thought is that going for a run has the potential to be dangerous, as well as lifting weights, flying on an airplane, eating at a restaurant, etc. It's very important to use safety pre-cautions in situations such as rock climbing, but I see no reason that people should stop doing things like that all together. Nature is out there, it's beautiful, and it should be experienced.
I'm sure glad we got to experience the beauty of Falling Rock in the Black Hills this past weekend.