We were so excited to receive the news. We love Susan and Brian and they have become great friends over the years of us going to the hang, there was no way we were going to miss this event. So plans were made.
As luck would have it, my new job gives me the Dakota's back as a part of my work responsibility, so we decided that I would work my way across the state the week before but then do to another work commitment we would have to drive all the way home (1000 miles) in a single day on Sunday following the event so I could catch a plane Monday morning.
Our first stop on any trip toward Rapid City and the Black Hills is Badlands National Park. It is desolate and while you can hike, and I have across the ground, It is one of the best parks if you simply take the road tour and take your time. Every turn and vista is amazing.
Rapid City is home to our best pals. Moose (below) and his fur brothers, Riley and now Stout. Their parents Barry and Saundra are pretty alright as well! We stayed with them for a couple nights and talked business but mostly hung out and had a fabulous time eating and drinking and catching up.
Thursday brings us over to Sheridan Lake for the start of the Black Hills Hang. This is a beautiful and somewhat quiet part of the Black Hills. This is a primitive park so it caters to campers and fisherman but always seems to be much quieter than the surrounding hot tourist areas.
We actually changed sites this year. Anticipating many more guests and a few more RV's! Brian switched to a larger site right next to our old one.
The site name is Squirrel
Arriving and picking out a great spot up on the hill, we get the hammocks set up.
It is a lovely sunshine day
There is still an abundance of wildflowers all over the hills of the campgrounds
Our view from our hammocks into the woods
Once everything is unloaded there is time to sit with Brian and Susan (Carol - Left) before other participants arrive. We will have a combination of people coming for the hang and also people coming just for the wedding on Saturday.
It looks quite lonely now, but just wait
It doesn't take Vicky long to spend time with the Brian and Susan's fur kids.
Vicky and Murphy
Cutty (top), Murphy and Angus
As the participants arrived for the hang, many of them had dogs this year. Pete came from Bozeman Montana and his dog Oden
There were guys all the way from Alabama. Rex (Left), Thomas, and Brett.We had a total of 11 hammock hangers at this years Hang.
Brian either starting dinner or rethinking this whole marriage thing?
Susan, not worried in the least with her feet up. "Brian, bring me a beer dear!"
Night one was big pots of Chili and Stew with cornbread and other fixings!
A beautiful sunrise morning
Vicky and I had some time today and she had never seen Crazy Horse, so we spent the morning at the monument.
The sculpture of Crazy Horse inside the museum with the actual mountain carving in the background.
Vicky with the artist working model, again with the actual mountain in the background
Inside the artists studio looking out on the mountain with the model of what the property will look like when it is completely finished (there is a college campus and arts center proposed for the completed area.
Afterwords as is our custom we were off to Hill City to eat at the Bumpin Buffalo. We split the 1 pound burger and then feel like we need to nap for a week!
Going back to the campsite it is soon time for everyone to start to arrive for the rehearsal. Susan trying to explain how she got talked into all this!
Dean (left), Ron and his wife Lea
The bride to be
Dean and Lea
The Maid of Honor - Evelyn
The parents of the groom- Dick and Carol
Always time for fun and games and watching people play Corn Hole is always a laugh
Wedding ceremony rehearsal
After the ceremony it was time to eat again. Cooking for many more people
There was also help from fellow campers making a great peach cobbler in a dutch oven over open coals.
As the sun went down and some of the immediate family had gone to town or back to their RV's there was time to relax and enjoy the fire
The bride and groom the night before
Guests gathering for the ceremony
Brian and Dick (father of the groom)
Carol (mom) and Brian
Ron (performing the ceremony) and his wife Lea
The alter is ready in a beautiful spot
The alter boys are in place
Here comes the bride escorted by the faithful Rowan
Cutty- "Wait I thought I was walking you down the isle? "
Waiting for the bride
The ceremony and readings - the crowd has grown
All done and time for wine and congratulations
Carol and Ron
Cutting the wedding cheese cake!
Vicky and I were thrilled to be asked to be the witnesses
Time for lots of food and merriment
It could not have been a more beautiful afternoon and evening for the ceremony
A lovely ending to a perfect day for Brian and Susan
Sunday we were up early around 3:30 am to pack up and get on the road back toward St.Louis. It was not your typical hammock hang, but a fantastic time spent with friends celebrating a new chapter to their lives.
Another beautiful sunrise as we drive east across South Dakota
Wedding video coming soon