Sunday, October 10, 2010

On our way to see the presidents

We didn't plan it this way, it just happened, but I'm glad we visited these monuments in the order we did.  It seems more appropriate to visit those who were here first, first.  I think it also allowed us to comprehend each of them in their correct historical context.

Don't get me wrong, we were all very excited about seeing Mount Rushmore (MR).  We've been talking about it for months and months.  In fact, it was supposed to be our first stop way back when we thought we were starting our trip in May.  When we got our first glimpse of MR all hell broke loose in the car everyone was so excited!


But again, let me back up, since we did several other things that day before actually getting to MR.  In fact, I think I'll leave our visit for the next posting.

The morning, late morning I should say, started with some archery lessons with kid sized homemade bows and arrows.  Good thing I brought that yarn with us!  At least it getting some use.....It was quite successful I must say!



Well, some were slightly more successful than others.  At archery that is.  He was quite successful at giggling though, as only he can :-)


We enjoyed some homemade baked beans for brunch.  I made a HUGE pot, and it only lasted barely 3 days!


Once we finally hit the road in the direction of MR we came across several beautiful locations.  We drove through Custer State Park that that morning had it's annual buffalo roundup.  That's when they, well, round up all the buffalo in the park.  They herd them all together,  count, immunize, check for pregnancies and then sell a 1/3 of them off to ranchers and such.....We had no idea we hit the jackpot by being there that weekend until someone at Crazy Horse mentioned it.  We were so excited and planned on heading down there to see it, as it's quite a sight apparently, only to be deeply disappointed when we were also informed that in order to see anything we'd need to be there by 4 AM and get in line.......Yikes!  That was NOT going to happen, so we had to give up that dream.

Anyway, we drove through the park, saw the beauty of it all and even some stray buffalo that they must have missed!  We then came across a wonderful surprise called Sylvan Lake.  We had initially stopped to fill up Labra's water supply, but were sucked in by the beauty of it all and decided a hike was in order.


We walked like Egyptians in crevices,


And just 'hung' around in them, so to speak.


There were also some cool little caves we poked our heads into as well as narrow passageways to walk through.

My camera must have been set accidently on some funky setting since all the pictures have this weird tint to them.....


We heard, and then located, woodpeckers pecking away in the trees and watched crawfish in the water -


Once the hike wrapped up we continued working our way towards MR on a very steep, narrow and winding road, called The Needles Highway.  No RVs allowed here!

Custer State Park, in the southeast section of the Black Hills, is quite a collection of rocky outcroppings and towering spires.


This part of the park highlights the main events of the so called central core of these formations.  Everything around you is granite and is some of the oldest rock in North America, over 2 billion years old.  You'd never guess that this area was once a vast ocean with much volcanic activity.  Those facts, combined with time, weathering and erosion, have allowed these rocks to become what they are today.

So why 'Needles'?  Because if this -


The eye of the needle!

Those tunnels I mentioned earlier...One car at a time obviously, but still, we barely fit through some of them, even with the side mirrors folded in!



Leaving the park, we headed to MR, finally!  It was about 3PM and we had a little less than an hour to go.  On our way we spotted this and got a huge kick out of it.  For some reason.  It's funny looking at the picture now, but not quite sure why we were cracking up about it.....Hard to tell, but the top box says 'air mail' opposed to 'regular' mail below.....


I'll close with another peak we got of MR while going through more tunnels and driving on more winding roads.  Interestingly enough, part of the road is constructed of wood and spirals downward like a parking garage!  It was pretty cool to see and drive on but hard to get a picture of.




  1. Just watched a movie on TV with Nicholas Cage who is out to prove is ancestor was a Civil War hero, involving about a secret presidents' book and a city of gold and the final scenes took place at Mt Rushmore where the city of gold lies beneath the presidents! Cool to think of you guys there.