I neglected to mention in the last post that many of the pretty pictures you see were taken by Mikala's boyfriend, Kyle, who is a professional videographer and has a sweet, expensive camera that we all take advantage of whenever he's around. (Basically you can deduce that all the professional-looking pictures are his and the amateurish-looking ones are mine). Thank you, Kyle!
Sooo... remember when Kahlyn bumped her head on the pavement and had to wear a bandaid on her head? The next day, her scar took the shape of a cross. Which means we switched from calling her "Bandaid-Head" to "The Chosen One."
And sometimes we just called her "Pretzel-face!"
I know, poor Kahlyn.
Also, remember at the end of my last post when I mentioned the double rainbow we saw after our hike but I didn't have a picture of my own so I was forced to add an imposter photo swiped from Google Images? Well, Jordan and Lindsey sent me a picture of the real deal. So here you have it. Double rainbow, all the way.
After our hike at Custer's State Park, we reconvened with the rest of the group and headed to Trout Haven. My parents are friends with the owners here and have stayed at this resort in the past. This time we came specifically for the trout fishing.
Here's Kahlyn with Auntie Mikala, practicing their reeling technique.
Trout Haven has two ponds that they regularly stock with trout. So you are pretty much guaranteed to catch something. For a small fee, they will fillet your catch and cook it up for you on the spot (though we had dinner plans right afterwards and opted out of this part).
Akio was the first brave fisherman (fisherboy?) to volunteer.
It was his first fishing experience, so his dad and Auntie Alexa were there to help him out.
There's nothing like an entire crowd to watch you while you're fishing. No pressure or anything.
As luck would have it, he caught something within seconds of casting his line.
Remember when I said Kyle had a professional camera? He caught the whole thing on video. (I wasn't kidding about him catching something within "seconds", was I?)
You can really see the mix of excitement and terror on his face after the fish has been caught. Of course, within five minutes he was asking to do it all over again.
Akio's mom, Lindsey, also took a turn at fishing.
Rather than hold the fish she caught, however, she decided to just pet it. Good decision.
Meanwhile, Brooke and Alexa watched on from a safe distance.
The final fisher of the day was Taylor.
It just started raining when we finally saw a splash of motion at the end of the line.
Here he is with his trout, looking victorious.
And here's my personal favorite - the fish kiss.
After Trout Haven, we reassembled into our four car caravan and headed to Deadwood for dinner. Anyone else in the mood for an artsy parking lot shot?
It's quite the ordeal when we all get together for dinner. I would feel sorry for our waitress, except that she received double the tips after we failed to realize it had already been added to the bill after we already tipped her. Oops.
Me and Mom
Tayor and Dad
Marcus and Brooke
Ashley and Taylor
Patrick, Akio, and me
Fried Pickles - I think we had 4 or 5 orders of these
Since Deadwood is crawling with casinos, Taylor, Ashley, Marcus, Lindsey, Patrick, and I decided to try our luck at Midnight Star Casino - owned by Patrick's hero, Kevin Costner.
After some luck at Black Jack (on Patrick's part) and some disappointment on the slot machines (on my part), Patrick and I came out $2 ahead. Success!
The next day, Marcus and Brooke took off on an intense hike while the rest of us opted for a leisurely drive through Bear Country U.S.A. On the tour there was a variety of animals just hanging around, like this goat/sheep guy.
And this crazy guy.
But the highlight of the tour was the black bears who were wandering around aimlessly with little or no regard for the long line of cars stopping to stare at them for extended periods of time.
It was difficult for me to resist the urge not to get out and pet one.
If I were any animal, I'd probably be a bear. If I were any bear, I'd probably be this one.
Unlike the big bears who generally just lazed about (see above), the bear cubs were rowdy and kept attacking each other like little fur balls of energy.
To get an idea, here's a rather National Geographic-esque video taken of the cubs, again courtesy of Kyle.
How about a random montage of photos with a bear?
Hurray for family vacation! Let's do it again sometime. Next time maybe in Hawaii? Or the Bahamas?