The drive from Devils Tower, WY, to Mount Rushmore, SD, is only 2 hours and 20 minutes (130 miles or so). Alexander, who had been feeling find at Devils Tower began wilting at Mount Rushmore.
It's been so long now that I can't quite remember which of the children got sick when. Phoebe got sick first. On a Sunday? I feel like it was on a Sunday. Was it on June 18th? Andrew ended up going home from church early with her because we realized part way through sacrament meeting that she had a fever. She was a miserable baby all day Sunday, but woke up feeling better on Monday.
Zoë was the next child to get sick. I can't quite remember when she got sick, but her illness followed the same trajectory as Phoebe's. She felt sick for a day and then felt better. She must have been sick on Monday because I don't remember her feeling sick while we were traveling and we were counting our lucky stars until Alexander started feeling sick at Yellowstone (June 21).
At first he attributed his feelings of malaise to breathing in vapours from the geysers and things, so he kept saying that he wanted to "get out of here," away from all the steam. Now, granted, "toxic gases may accumulate to dangerous levels in some hydrothermal areas"so he his assumption wasn't necessarily unwarranted. But everyone else seemed fine, so we were pretty confident it wasn't toxic gasses (and we didn't spend a ton of time at any particular hydrothermal area).
But, boy, that steam was just blowing into his face and stinging his eyes! And that sulphur smell sure was giving him a headache!
It took us an embarrassing long time to realize that he had, in fact, spiked a fever and was downright miserable. (Fortunately, all our activities were outside, so we felt we were giving others plenty of fresh air around us).
He was so happy when we finished dragging him in and out of the car at Yellowstone and let him have a big, long rest in the car while we drove through Wyoming!
The next morning he was feeling much better, as we assumed he would be (if his illness followed the same course his sisters had experienced), and was running and climbing all over everything at Devils Tower. As I mentioned, however, he began to wilt at Mount Rushmore.
Here we all are standing in front of the monument (you may also note the thunderstorm gathering behind the hills):
Alexander was not feeling great (though he didn't have a fever or anything at this point). You can see him kind of leaning into me, somewhat clingily (poor guy).
But we got our junior ranger booklets, dutifully filled them out (mostly using knowledge we had acquired by reading in the car beforehand, though there were also a few activities we needed to complete along the trail), and enjoyed our visit, anyway.
While Grandpa, Rachel, Miriam, and I helped the kids with their booklets, Andrew took Phoebe off to enjoy the view by her sweet little self. She thought the empty ampitheatre was fun.