I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately. It’s not that I do unfriendly things. I’m just really bad at staying in touch. Lucky for me, I’ve got a great group of friends who don’t mind. We’ll go a month or two without talking, before we finally connect and carry on conversations like no time has passed.
But, wow. It’s been ages since we’ve chatted… nearly nine months!
I could list off a whole slew of excuses as to why I’ve been a bad friend. But to sum it up, we’ve just lost touch. So, you’re probably wondering how life’s been… let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?
In August, I ventured out to Sturgis… or as the locals call it, “The Rally.” If you’re unfamiliar with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Google it. It’s outrageous. Growing up in a household of Harleys, it was surreal to finally be there. The weeklong event boasts bands, bikes, booze and boobs. Like I said, it’s outrageous.
Throughout the summer Eugene and I hiked. A lot. The hiking trails in western South Dakota are seemingly endless, and we’re taking full advantage of our outdoor playground. I especially enjoy wearing Wisconsin garb while I hike through the Hills; because without fail, I’m bound to come upon a handful of traveling cheeseheads, who are always more than eager to strike up a conversation with a fellow Wisconsinite. Following conversations of this nature, I always rhetorically ask Eugene, ‘Isn’t it cool that we live in a place where people vacation?’ So cool.
In September, Eugene and I headed east to celebrate one of my college friend’s weddings. I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that yes, we are all real adults and getting married, buying houses, and having babies is the new norm. Crazy as that may seem.
You can tell by our shiny faces that we had a great time on the dance floor… as all wedding guests should. The 18-hour roundtrip drive and unfortunate speeding ticket were totally worth it.
As summer turned to fall, Eugene officially became a rated air traffic controller! I’m still wrapping my head around his career, but I’m fairly certain this “rating” means he can talk to planes without supervision. For me, this rating means the end of flashcard review sessions, which is slightly discouraging seeing as I was just starting to master the ATC lingo…
In November, one of my very best friends Janaye came to play! Remember when I said earlier that I had a really great group of friends? Case in point. Sure, South Dakota is sweet, but let’s face it, it isn’t a place people are itching to travel. Which makes me all the more grateful that so many friends have set aside long weekends to visit.
Janaye, Eugene and I had a grand ol’ time enjoying quality craft brews, hiking through our beautiful state and national parks, and catching up on all of life’s crazy turns.
For Thanksgiving, Eugene and I road-tripped home to Madison. It was the first Holiday we were able to spend with our families since moving to South Dakota. And, lucky for us, a Badger home game landed on the same weekend. On Wisconsin!
I snapped this shot on State Street before heading home for the night. Mist and all, can Madison be any more beautiful?
Upon returning to South Dakota, I bid farewell to my job at the credit union. It was definitely a bittersweet goodbye, so naturally we eased the mixed emotions with a shotski. Great coworkers are something to treasure.
In December I stepped into a new, scary, exciting role as Digital Media Coordinator at Black Hills Corporation. In this role I help manage all of our social media pages, work on our websites, and learn something new every. single. day. Seriously, I think my brain knowledge has doubled over the past four months.
Throughout the winter months I spent my weekends skiing at my fav local spot, Terry Peak. While the hill is great, I lacked good company. Eugene, being the tall lanky guy he is, isn’t the hugest downhill skiing fan. So I spent most of my Sundays making solo tracks. One Sunday I was lucky enough to catch the first chair on the backside.
In my opinion, this is absolute bliss:
As winter turned to spring, we picked back up our hiking game. Eugene and I came upon this family of bighorn sheep in Custer State Park. It was our first time encountering our wild neighbors with a baby in tow. We stopped on the path and watched each other for a bit before the family carried on uphill. Nature is so neat.
In March, I braved a nine hour solo road trip east to spend the weekend with college friends. Lucky for me, it was one of the first nice weekends in Minneapolis, so patio parties were out in full force. We spent all of Saturday drinking beachy cocktails and laughing. It was perfect.
Back to hiking for a second. This spring we drove five miles down a gravel road and hiked uphill for three-and-a-half miles to take in this view. Crow Peak is definitely a locals hike, which I love. Every single person we passed greeted us with a smile — several even stopped to for a quick conversation. I always welcome breathtaking views and friendly folks.
I think I’m going to rename March “Mucho,” because my month was filled with Mucho love! Dumb idea? Whatever. At the end of Mucho Love Month, my BFF4L (or as we affectionately called ourselves in high school: 4/4) spent some time in South Dakota. Al was here for an extra long weekend (YES!) and I don’t think we could have fit in any more hiking, beer drinking, and fun.
Have I mentioned how great my friends are?
Weekend highlight: hanging out with the begging burros in Custer. When it comes to snacks, these donkeys don’t mess around. This guy stuck his head right through our open window to snag some cashews from Eugene… he also kicked another donkey, who tried to get in on the treats.
And finally, in April, Father Tom made his long-anticipated appearance in Rapid City, South Dakota. Yay! I’ve always been attached to my parents and nothing makes me happier than spending time with them. Per usual, the weekend was packed with site-seeing, exploring and eating. We even managed to sneak in a hockey game. Rumor has it, we tired the old guy out big time.
And now here we are. Spring is slowly giving way to summer and I’m looking forward to more adventures. I promise to stay in touch over the next couple months.
What have you been up to?