There are no Panera's in this part of the country. Seriously. Denver is the only place with one west of Sioux Falls and east of Vegas. That means my extra time has not been spent at a computer writing blog posts, sorry.
I did spend quite a bit of time doing other stuff today. Most of my day was spent hiking around the badlands. For some of the hiking I stuck to the trails, but a few times I also went off them to climb up different features or hike over to a place that looked like it had a good view. At one point after I had been climbing up to a ridge just off the trail, a family started heading up that way too. I sort of guided the kids on which way was best to get up easiest, and gave one of them a hand up as well.
|I had fun with the Panorama function on my camera.|
"I have a cap gun."
"I'm really good at climbing monkey bars on the playground, that's probably why I'm so good at this."
"Oh, I almost forgot, I can swim really far. Almost forgot to tell you that."
It reminded me a little bit of when I used to do trips with my mom, my aunt, and my younger cousins Ian and Anton. We'd go to Navy Pier in Chicago, or to a zoo, or something else, and my sister and I would spend most of the time playing/talking/joking with our cousins, who are 6 or 8 years younger than us. And as fun as those trips were, the thing I remember about them isn't each of the places we went to. It's hanging out with my cousins and spending time with them.
I enjoy traveling by myself, but you miss out on that when you're not sharing experiences with someone else. As cool as hiking the first trail this morning was, when I got to where I was trying to get to by myself, there wasn't much else to do. But when I got to the end of the trail with the family, I got to enjoy the view with them, talk about the hike and which parts were hard, and all of that. And, at least in this case, it was worth the trade-off a little bit of autonomy in choosing which route to take or how fast I wanted to go.
So thanks to Angie, Rich, Alexis, and Mason for making my hike way more memorable than if I had done it by myself.