Mount Rushmore!

Everyone said that the hills/mountains in the West wouldn’t be that bad because we would be very strong by the time we reached them. Not trying to degrade our strength, but today’s climb to Mt. Rushmore was very challenging. The elevation change and heat dried out our mouths and made us more out of breath than we remembered. When these hills loomed in front of us, we thought of our ride dedication. We dedicated our 83 mile ride with 4000 feet of elevation change to Randy Smith. We learned about Randy in a portrait that we took yesterday. Being at Mt. Rushmore the day before Independence Day was exciting. We met and talked to many other travelers and even Illinois alumni! When we were riding on the mountain, we saw a huge area of dead forest which was eaten by some harmful beetles. One of the forests we went through was destroyed by a wild fire. However, the scenery of  South Dakota is still one of our favorites. In the evening, we rode into Wyoming, being impressed with the great harmony of sun shine and bright green carpet of grasses.

Today, while at the Big Thunder Gold Mine, we met Esther, a breast cancer survivor. Esther was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer three years ago. She underwent a mastectomy of her left breast and removed several lymph nodes from that area, and is currently undergoing drug therapy. She visits the doctor twice a year, but has shown no signs of cancer since her treatment. Esther also lost her brother to pancreatic cancer and her sister to breast cancer. “Cancer gave me a more positive outlook. We’ve had more family get together since then, and that is what I wanted. I get to live a few more years and see more of my family. And that makes me happy.” She also gave some parting advice. “Stay positive. Don’t think bad things like ‘Oh I’m gonna die.’ I did a couple of ties, but it’s not gonna help or work out. Look forward to the future and be positive.”


Leave a Reply