Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Fort Robinson Memorial Day

Despite a year's hiatus where we spent the holiday driving cross country, our Memorial Day Camping tradition continues! Except we kind of cheated by renting a cabin, plus we still spent plenty of time driving within Nebraska. So what would motivate us to travel eight hours to the far northwest corner of the state?

Topography!  Nestled along the Pine Ridge, Fort Robinson is as close as Nebraska comes to mountains.  It was gorgeous.

Fort Robinson has quite a rich and diverse history.  It has been home to the U.S. cavalry, K-9 training camps during WWII, German prisoners of war, even the Buffalo Soldiers.  (By the way, I learned that the name Buffalo Soldier came from the Cheyenne trying to describe this African American cavalry regiment.  The soldiers were dark, strong, and courageous like buffalo, plus they both had curly hair.)

On the sad side, it is also the place where Crazy Horse was killed, as well as the site of the tragic Cheyenne Outbreak which ended in the deaths of 64 Native Americans and 11 soldiers.

Here are Talia and Eli, excited to embark on our Horse Drawn Tour where we learned more about Fort Rob.

Some lovely officers' quarters.

And a few of the stables with some horses getting ready for a trail ride.

Here's Papa K back at our own cabin (former living quarters for "regular" cavalrymen.)

One of the perks of eating outside is that you don't have to clean up as much when Annie Mae suddenly decides to spit out her food (quite a regular occurrence.)   I don't know what's worse--when she spits it directly onto the floor or into her hands before she proceeds to mash it in her hair...

Later that morning Eli enjoyed a pony ride on, catch this, Snowball.  Pretty funny name for chocolate brown horse!

This picture totally cracks me up.  You can just hear the gal thinking, "Help!  Too much kiddie love!  I'm just not sure what to do with this.  I ride horses.  Think I'll put the jabbering thing down."

Next up for fun: a stage coach ride.

Ma and the munchkins, all ready to board.

Here's Papa Kay with Annika, contemplating what it must have been like to ride in such a rickety, rattling contraption for hours on end.  Certainly not comfortable!

Brave (and slightly foolhardy) Jason tackled his longest marathon training run while at Fort Robinson, running six miles up along a gravel road before trotting through the hills along a scarcely-marked cow path.  He may have forgotten to bring food, but at least he found this water pump halfway through.  (He was also grateful for the passing truck that let him hop in for the last three miles when his legs decided they'd had enough after seventeen miles of extreme elevation change.)
Sisterly teamwork.

Talia helps Eli get a drink.

Our spunky gal shows off her teeth.

Next we headed to the hills to be close to nature.
Eli connects with grass in a much more positive way than those out in Colorado

The Hills are Alive...

Brooklyn's mad fencing skills.

Papa K and Eli pause to enjoy the scenery.

Annika Mae and her NomiAnn--best pals.
Couldn't choose between the next two pictures.  This one captures Talia's spirit...
...and this one her beautiful face.

Annie loves nothing more than being the center of attention.
Riding on top of the world (or at least on her Daddy's shoulders.)

Papa K demonstrates how well his newly adorned hat helps him camouflage.
Eli savors the wind in his hair.
One of life's most beautiful moments--vision and perspective across the generations.

 Back at Camp Rob we painted ceramics...

...and posed for pictures after catching a church service in Chadron.
Papa Kay looks pretty bored in jail.
The Wheeler family prefers freedom on the outside.
The one and only time Jason will ever see his wife looking quite so, um, busty.

And a collage of our horse back riders.

Remember how I said we took the easy way out and rented a cabin instead of tent camping?  Well, we were pretty darn grateful after the major storm and flooding we experienced Sunday night.  It was slightly terrifying to drive through it in our mini-van with absolutely no place to go for shelter.  I can only imagine how soggy it would have been in a tent.
The storm rolls in: such an ominous sky...

...but beautiful, all the same.
 Fortunately, the next morning we were back to sunshine and smiles.  Here's our Brooklyn, looking pretty and grown-up with Annika on her shoulders. 
Brooklyn does an amazing job taking care of her baby sister, toting her around and making her smile so I can get other work done.  Thank you so much, our lovely Brookworm!

All too soon it was time to get back on the road for the long trek home. 
Pit stop, anyone?
The trip was made much more interesting thanks to a stop-off at Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska.
Even though it's off the beaten path, I was glad to visit and mark this monument off my bucket list for life.

Other public works of art on display.  I love this one, "Spawing Salmon" by Geoff Sandhurst.

Looks like the dinosaurs have made a comeback.

Preferred transport of modern-day pioneers--the station wagon (or perhaps more accurately, the minivan.)

Back to Carhenge, it looks like Tow-Mater got a lift.

Next best thing to traveling the English countryside.
So next time your family treks across the nation, you might consider deviating from I-80 to take the road less traveled by. You might be surprised by all Nebraska has to offer. NomiAnn and Papa Kay, thanks so much for yet another lovely Memorial Day weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks once again for posting these terrific photo reminders and memories Kara!