Monday, March 22, 2010

Four Years Ago This Summer

I was just preparing things for our upcoming trip and my parent tomorrow night when I looked and Mark and said, "Do you realize it was four years ago this summer that we went to Washita?" Mark and I spent three summers in a row following National Historic Trails and visiting as many National Parks as we could.

The first summer we packed up our new Saturn Vue and our new Boston Terrier puppy and hit the road to follow Lewis and Clark. It was epic. We learned, somewhere around South Dakota, not to follow EVERY road that had a Lewis and Clark sign. I think our biggest lesson came after following a dirt road that wound through corn fields in Iowa only to, after an hour, end up next to a nearly dried up creek and a wayside that said, "Caught Big Fish..." Evidently, some 200 years earlier Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery went fishing there and documented in their journals that they had caught a big fish there. Interesting. Just probably not worth an hour plus of our time.... We really wanted that hour plus back when we got west of the Rockies!

The following year we spent two and a half weeks following the Santa Fe Trail. Neither Mark or I had been to New Mexico before and so we were headed out to the Southwest. We learned so much on that trip too! On the way back we decided to drive south a bit so that we could hit more National Parks. On the way home we drove through Oklahoma and stopped at Washita.

We both remember it being soooo hot that day, what I've since learned is standard Oklahoma summer heat--I think the car read 113 degrees. The new Visitor Center was still being built and the office was smaller. Mark and I were prepared to take turns going in to watch the movie and peruse the book store because we couldn't leave Soba in the car in the extreme heat. Lo and behold, the Ranger kindly invited us in to hold Soba on our laps and watch the movie together. That right there won me over to the park for eternity. I became infatuated with the story that the park told....I also incorporated into my summer Teacher-2-Teacher Department of Education talks. I remember thinking how cool it would be to take my students there some day.

I was reminded of that day tonight. How exciting to think that one week from today I will actually be there with my students! I'm so excited and so excited for my students to see and learn about history that excited me so much a few years ago (and still excites me today!).

Oklahoma, here my students come!

(PS, To finish the story...our third year we followed the Pony Express Trail across the middle of the country.)


Jonny T said...

ahhhh ... great story! I didn't know about the "caught big fish" sign. Classic.