Monday, June 24, 2013

Old West Day 2: Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Mammoth Site

I'm a big Cary Grant fan, so Hitchcock's iconic images of the evil crop duster and the foot chase across the  Presidents' faces have always stuck with me. 

We had the most beautiful sunny day with blue skies, perfect for a photo op at Mt. Rushmore.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but there's a small museum, and a walk on the hill in front of the monument, with lots of different views of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. 

 Look how they put the gleam in Lincoln's eye!

After sufficient time at Mt. Rushmore we were off to the Crazy Horse Monument, which when completed will be the largest sculpture in the world.  It's a labor of love for the wife and children of Korczak Ziolkowski  who began the carving in 1948.  There's no estimate of completion because the family work at their own pace and don't accept government money.  (How unusual is that?!)

 View of the monument through the gift shop window
Dimensions:  Face: 87.5 feet tall, entire carving: 641 feet long, feather: 44 feet high 
The finished carving will depict Crazy Horse astride his horse, pointing to the distance where "My lands are where my people are buried".  The Crazy Horse memorial honors all American Indian tribes.
Not only is the carving worth visiting, but there is an excellent museum of Native American art and history, as well as many artifacts of the Ziolkowski family, and of course, a gift shop.
Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park came through for us with a small herd of bison for our viewing pleasure. 
We jumped off the bus and negotiated the cattle crossing, where we the people were confined behind a rail fence and the bison roamed around us. 
(Watch out for the rattlesnake in the corner rock pile!)
Finally, today we visited the Mammoth Site, a paleontological excavation over which a building was constructed to allow for work and study all year round.  There's even a Road Scholar program where participants can work on the dig along with the scientists.


TexCyn said...

Thanks for sharing your site on WGS list. I'm having fun going through it. Wow, I've never seen close up shots of the presidents. Amazing detail!

Scottie said...

Thanks, TexCyn. I was amazed at the beauty of Rushmore; the setting, thrpe carvings, the details. And for a place that gets so many visitors, the trail was relatively quiet. A good little hike.