Before I ever conquered the #TheManitouIncline (for the first time), this is where I found my love of running again, The Scotts Bluff National Monument.
Who remembers that computer game from way back “The Oregon Trail”? 🙋🏽♀️🙋🏽♀️🙋🏽♀️
The Monument “has served as a landmark for peoples from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails to modern travelers.”
My father served honorably in the United States Air Force for twenty years, and he retired a month after I was born. When I was eighteen months old, my family moved from Southern California to the Panhandle of Nebraska, near where my parents had both spent their childhoods, and I grew up knowing all about this place.
Our big family of ten (six boys and two girls, with me being the youngest or “Crystal Baby” as my daddy affectionately called me), went here at least once a year, to drive to the top and hoot, holler, and honk with the windows down through the tunnels on the way up there. That was always my favorite, our family making that beautifully loud cacophony.
One thing I never did in all my years growing up here, though, was hike up Saddle Rock Trail. We only ever went down just the slightest bit from the top, mostly due to the fact that my father was suffering greatly from undiagnosed Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or Lupus. He would later go on to have a MAJOR flare up that landed him in Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, for ninety days. He even had a #NearDeathExperience in the midst of it.
The Rocky Mountains became a familiar and comforting presence to me as we travelled back and forth to be with him as much as possible. Especially my mama, my almost birthday twin, Jordan, and me while the older children held down the fort with relatives and stayed in school.
[To be continued…]