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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

The Cattle Shuffle – U.S. Explorer

The latest from the U.S. Explorer!

The Westcoast Blogger

Dear Parents of Trip 9 in ’09,

Wow- we’re already on day 20, which means we are halfway through our amazing adventure! We can’t believe how quickly the time’s been flying by and while we’ve seen so much already, we still have lots of fantastic things planned to look forward to. Our last week and a half flew by while we traveled through South Dakota and Wyoming, and we all got to enjoy some really cool sights. While in Rapid City, South Dakota, we kept busy by visiting the Badlands National Park and having a nice picnic lunch in the middle of the gorgeous mountains. Evan, Noah, and Ben really enjoyed the park and were very keen on hiking down the mountains. In the evening we got to experience Mt. Rushmore and were treated to a slideshow and light presentation that was enjoyed by everyone.

The next day we headed over to the Jewel Caves in the morning and the Reptile Gardens in the afternoon, and we ended our day by taking part in the Black Hills Maze and Amusement Park, where Jack, along with many others, came in first place by completing the maze the fastest (without cheating!). After completing the maze, Cassidy took part in Bankshot Basketball and wowed everyone with his great shooting skills.

Our next stop was Cody, Wyoming and after a bus ride of trivia, games, and singing, we settled into our rooms and enjoyed a great dinner at Hong Kong Restaurant. In the evening everyone had a chance to explore the town and take part in an evening program to see which group could bring back the most creative object by trading in one single paper clip. Dan , Kyle, Alex, Nicole, Haylee, Jake, Ali, Becky, and Lindsay  were part of the team that managed to trade in their paperclip for a used television! Everyone else came back with some really great findings and had a chance to compare everything with the rest of the group. Our next day in Cody was amazing- we got to go whitewater rafting AND horseback riding, and everyone had a really incredible time. Suzannah and Jessie, along with many others, did a great job paddling through the rapids and making it through to the other side. Eric and Lacey adored horseback riding, while Alyssa conquered her fear by trying it out for the first time. Becca had a great time too, even though her horse has a very large appetite and had to keep stopping for some snacks! In the evening, we got to see the infamous Cody Night Rodeo, and Andrew took part in the Cattle Shuffle and won first place for catching the bandana off a calf. And who could miss Eric with his full cowboy get-up and fit right in with the other spectators.

The next day we left for Jackson Hole, Wyoming and while going through Yellowstone Park we got to see tons of wild bison crossing the road! Becky loved the opportunity to see the bison and couldn’t stop snapping pictures of every single one in sight. Making it just in time to see Old Faithful erupt, we got in some great photo opportunities and were able to get a great view of the geyser.

On our last day in Jackson, we had a chance to explore Jackson Hole and enjoy the sights. After a nice picnic lunch we headed over to the alpine slide, where Alex and Byrne had a thrill each time they went down. The rest of the afternoon was spent being physically active at the Teton Recreational Center where we got to enjoy swimming, water sliding, and diving. Ilana and Dan were like fish playing in the water and could have stayed in all day long. Stephanie, Evan, Evan, and Mitchell were all playing basketball, while Ali, and Jillian ran laps around the gym. We ended our evening with a warm campfire and got to share with one another our hopes and fears for the rest of the trip. Many shared that they were not looking forward to the end, which is only 3 weeks away, but we are all very excited to continue our travels, and making new memories and building new friendships.

Until next time,

Your Trip 9 in ’09 Staff