Waking up Friday morning proved to be much easier than the previous days. With one extra hour of sleep, and an upgraded suite, I was able to pack and get ready with much more energy, feeling well rested at last. The breakfast was also very refreshing providing many options including a self serving pancake machine.
Around 8:00 am, we began our departure to Billings, not realizing we would soon be facing a minor delay in our plans. About 10 minutes in, we discovered a problem with one of the vehicle’s tires. Fortunately we were close to a Walmart, and scheduled our repairs. With about a two and a half hour wait facing us, the group decided to liven up the mood and find a way to enjoy the setback.
Therefore, the great Standwatch scavenger hunt inside of Walmart began. To make it interesting, the kids were separated into three teams based on the car they were riding in. Team Northup, Team Mason, and my own Team Gillespie competed to win one of the greatest prizes- bragging rights. Using a list of about ten items, each team of five were required to find the obscure item in Walmart, bring it to the adults, and put it back. The team able to find the most items in the fastest amount of time would be crowned the champion.
Items such as a frisbee, red shoe laces, and nasal spray were searched for as the teams did their best to quickly find and return the objects without running or upsetting security. Although the scores were very close for a while, in the end, the Gillespie team proved that they were in it to win it.
Newly crowned champions, we went with the rest of the group to visit Petco for the remainder of our car trouble delay. For nearly half an hour we crowded around the hamster, mice, guinea pig, and ferret enclosures watching as they napped and played together. They were absolutely adorable.
Shortly after returning to Walmart, the car was fixed, and we began once more to depart from Gillette and headed toward Billings. The ride was mostly quiet as we either fell asleep or worked on some assignments. Three hours later we arrived at Qdoba for some tacos, burritos, and refreshments. Although I wasn’t especially hungry, the food really hit the spot and gave us the energy we needed after a long car ride.
A short drive and a game of 20 questions later, we arrived at Little Bighorn Battlefield. My eyes were immediately in awe of the terrain of the battlefield; white and red tombstones of marble were scattered throughout commemorating the lives that were lost. Large hills surrounded the landscape provided light shelter in the otherwise barren fields.
With the immense heat beating down on our backs we sat below an awning and listened to a park ranger speak about the rich history of the park and the battle that took place there. This was very new and interesting information to me because coming in to the park, I knew little to no facts about what actually happened and why the battle occurred in the first place. She explained that the battle was fought between the U.S. Cavalry and the northern Indians. On a hill, a large white monument was visible marking Custer’s last stand and those who fell with him. It was extremely awe-inspiring and saddening to take in the land where such a battle was fought and so many soldiers lost their lives.
After the message, we returned to the cars and listened to an audio explanation of the different sections of the park while we drove along the path. A few horses were spotted walking in front and beside our car as we inched along, taking in the scenery. It was truly beautiful.
Although a fairly easy day, it was very fun having the opportunity to relax and get to know everyone better. Can’t wait for Yellowstone in the morning.