Journey to the West - My Family Travels
sony062007 (80)

The summer of 2007 my neighbors, the Fongers, invited me to explore the western side of the United States. We traveled from our house, in Clarksville Michigan, all the way to Montana. This opportunity my neighbors provided for me influenced my life a great deal.

We started off taking the SS Badger across Lake Michigan into Wisconson. This was my first time ever being on a ferry let alone out of Michigan. I was excited to see more of our country. In Wisconson, there wasn't much to see; in fact, I slept the whole way through the state. My absolute favorite part of the entire trip was visitng the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. I love rock climbing and being outside, so to be able to climb freely as high as I wanted made me the happiest kid around. The only thing I was not fond of was the BEWARE OF RATTLESNAKES signs posted everywhere. I was cautious everywhere I stepped. Luckily, the entire trip I only encountered one snake.

Mt. Rushmore was an amazing experience that I will never forget. When I was there I didn't find it that interesting because I couldn't climb it. Looking back though I remember seeing it from my suite window at the Presidential Inn and being in absolute awe of the four presidents heads. We also visited Devils Tower in Wyoming and the Petrified tree. Montana was where the Fongers and I made our most memories. Stopping in Glacier Park was where I saw my first Buffalo and also ate my first Buffalo. I was so upset after I had ate it, I cried. Now, I laugh when I think about it and almost everytime I go to a restraunt order a Bison Burger.

My favorite memory was at a small little pub in Glacier, I drank four waters before our food even came. So the waiter, Patrick, brought me out a huge jug of water and stuck a straw into it. I ended up drinking two of those! Also in Glacier Park was sulfur water parks. The entire parks water system was from the Springs. We even went on nature walk through about a thousand different colors and designs of sulfur. Even though they were pretty, I can still smell the rotten stench of those hot springs. When we arrived at Yellowstone, we did a lot of mountain driving and hiking. They also took me white water rafting which was incredible! Our tour guide was hilarious and I loved the thrill of the ride. Another thrill seeking adventure was bridge jumping. Our tour guide showed us this thirty foot bridge and let us jump off of it! The water was absolutely freezing but it was something I would have never experienced before. The wildlife experience at Yellowstone was phenomenal, we saw a bald eagle, buffalo, golfers, and lizards, these few animals would be extremely hard to find in Michigan.

This trip meant the world to me and was the opportunity of a lifetime. The amount of nature, historical value, and interactions with the outside world this trip gave me was incredible. I now love going on hikes, camping, and rock climbing more than ever. I learned an incredible amount of history on this trip. I would have never been given this chance before the Fongers moved next door. Since this trip, the Fongers have given me so many great opportunities that my family cannot give me. I am so greatful to them for this trip and all the others. 

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