We couldn’t come to South Dakota without visiting Mount Rushmore, and it was at the top of Nicolas’ and Bryce’s “must see” lists!
Our first visit was on a beautiful sunny day, and the blue sky made for a lovely background behind the memorial!
There were LOTS of people there . . . it felt like even more than at Yellowstone!
We were a little annoyed that our National Park pass wasn’t good at this park . . . they don’t charge an admission fee, but they let a concessionaire charge a “parking fee” . . . it just didn’t seem right!
Anyway, we paid our parking fee and walked through the corridor of state flags to the Grand View Terrace.
From the terrace, we walked along the Presidential Trail, which takes you through the sculptor’s studio and partway up the mountain to the memorial.
Gutzon Borglum was the sculptor commissioned to create the memorial. Original suggestions included Lewis & Clark and a Native Indian Chief, but Borglum was very patriotic and he wanted to honor presidents who had made especially significant contributions to the country.
He selected George Washington to represent Birth, Thomas Jefferson to represent Expansion, Theodore Roosevelt to represent Development, and Abraham Lincoln to represent Preservation.
In the sculptor’s studio, we saw the model that Borglum created for the workers to follow,
Just outside the studio, there were several mountain goats hanging around, so we just had to stop and watch them for awhile . . . a new animal for us!
As we continued along the Presidential Trail, climbing flight after flight of stairs, we started to think that maybe we should have taken the loop in the opposite direction (and when we watched National Treasure 2 later that night, we noticed that they went the wrong direction around the trail, too!)!
We made it around, though, and were rewarded with some great views of the memorial!
Mount Rushmore is an amazing and inspiring sight, especially when you watch the video of how they created it, and you see men hanging from harnesses to chip away the rock! the tools and equipment that they used was so primitive, and yet they created something so incredible!
From Mt. Rushmore we continued to the Crazy Horse Memorial.
We wanted to see the memorial, but decided that the cost wasn’t really worth it ($10/person) . . . so I just took a quick picture as we turned around to leave.
Maybe the next time we’re in the area . . .
We returned to Mount Rushmore in the evening for the Ranger Program and the lighting of the memorial.
We arrived at dusk,
found seats in the amphitheater to wait for the show.
The program was very good, and the memorial was just as impressive when lit.