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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

South Dakota - Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse

For several years, I've been wanting to go to Mount Rushmore. First of all, South Dakota is one of the few remaining states I had not visited. Secondly, it seemed like it would be the perfect little weekend trip. So last weekend at the beach with my parents and my sister and brother-in-law, we watched Nicholas Cage in National Treasure. The climax of the movie occurs at Mount Rushmore, so I decided it was time.

So Friday night after work, I flew from Atlanta to Columbus, OH to Minneapolis to Rapid City, SD. (ATL-MSP flights were delayed, so that looked to be the only way to make my connection.) MSP to RAP was delayed as well, so it was nearly midnight by the time I got there.

I checked out of the hotel at 8:00 am and headed to Mount Rushmore. Approaching, I got a glimpse and pulled over to take this:

After arriving and parking at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, I walked to the Grand View Terrace, then around the "Presidential Trail" stopping at the Sculptor's Studio.

Gutzon Borglum's original model in the Sculptor's studio

On the Presidential Trial, there were stations where you could see good views of each of the four presidents separately. Here's Lincoln:

One of my favorite shots
Another favorite

Leaving Mount Rushmore to go to the Crazy Horse Memorial, I got one final look at Mount Rushmore. I was surprised to see this as I was rounding the curve, having never seen this view before:

It was probably 15 miles from Mount Rushmore to Crazy Horse. I had thought about not going to the Crazy Horse Monument -- I knew it wasn't finished, but that's about all I knew about it. A fraternity brother recommended it, however, so I decided to go. It was worth going to, if only because it's a massive dream that has been under construction since the 1940s. The Lakota Tribe asked Korczak Ziolkowski, who had worked on Mount Rushmore, to do something to honor their people.  This monument is meant to "honor the culture, tradition, and living heritage of the North American Indians." It is the largest mountain sculpture. Ziolkowski died in 1982 but his wife still runs the nonprofit that works on the sculpture daily. They refuse to take Federal funds, so they raise all the money for the work from visitors and supporters.

Crazy Horse Monument
Here's a model of what it will look like when (or if) completed (with the monument in the background):

All four presidents of Mount Rushmore could fit onto Crazy Horse's head. That's how massive this is.
If you ever visit South Dakota, this is worth the trip. I hope to see some progress on it in my lifetime.

Other pictures from this trip can be found here.

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