Mt Rushmore and the Black Hills

I’m not sure why but Mt Rushmore has always intrigued me. Why would someone carve faces into a mountain?! But the faces of four of our presidents are carved into a mountain in South Dakota, which is a fair piece from where I live. I figured I’d never get there, but I did! Last weekend, Matt and I drove from the Badlands towards Mt Rushmore. The famous mountain stands 5725 feet high in the midst of the Black Hills. As we drove through the bright green grassy plains, it became obvious as to how the hills acquired their name. They did look black and I saw that they are covered with evergreen trees that have a dark bark. It was pouring the day we arrived, but we were due for some rest and took it gladly. I took time to look on the internet for tips for photographing the presidents. One article said that it is difficult to get a good shot and recommended just buying a calendar. It was mentioned that early morning is best before there are sharp shadows on the faces. So we got up early Sunday morning and as we drove up the mountains I told myself to just enjoy the moment and not worry about getting an awesome photo. Then we rounded a corner and there they were! Bad photos? No way!Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I started snapping pics as soon as we parked the car. Thankfully, there weren’t many people there since we got there shortly after it opened. But we did make friends with another couple that knew all about Cedarville University where our son and daughter-in-law attended. We swapped photo taking favors.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After enjoying the view from the Grand View Terrace, we walked the Presidential Trail which winds among the pines right under the sculpture. There were many places for more photos including through a crevice in the rocks.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

There was an opportunity for close up views of each president. I especially liked Teddy Roosevelt with his glasses and nice mustache.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We ended the walk and a ranger, Erin Green, said she was about to give a talk about Mr Roosevelt. She stated that it was her first speech of the year, but she did an amazing job of presenting Teddy as an adventurer. I decided that I wanted to be like him and keep exploring and doing interesting things.

Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

This is my most favorite shot of the sculpture. Such an amazing piece of art that was accomplished mostly with dynamite. Four important presidents keep watch over the Black Hills because of daring men working during the Great Depression to fulfill the vision of the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum.

Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We ended the Presidential Trail and couldn’t believe our eyes when we ran into our new friends from the Badlands, Max and Betty. We wondered if we would see each other farther down the line in our travels. I hated leaving the presidents and kept looking back as we drove off. But I shouldn’t have worried. I would get to see them many more times that day. The first was from a pull off where we ate our picnic lunch under the profile of President¬†Washington.

Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Continuing to drive on the scenic Iron Mountain Road, we stopped many times for geocaches and I saw Mt Rushmore again and again. One time was through a tight tunnel.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Here was my view as Matt searched for one of the caches. We were just behind Mt Rushmore.Behind Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

At this overlook, you can see the presidents just to the right of Matt’s head.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I zoomed in and saw some lucky people getting a helicopter tour.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After saying good bye to the much enjoyed Mt Rushmore, we continued driving through the Black Hills. We were told that if we drove through Custer State Park we would see some Bison. After driving for quite some time, we saw cars stopped ahead. We got into an actual traffic jam with our big pickup truck but finally got to stop and see the majestic beasts.Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We were told of a woman recently being gored by a buffalo and I decided not to get close. I was surprised how close some people did go and with children too. There were many baby bison.Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

At one point in the drive, we were unable to keep a distance from the creatures. They were right next to the road! I took this shot through our windshield.

Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

This one was close by and decided to roll around in the dirt.Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We saw a few antelope and the song “Home, Home on the Range” kept going through my head. I didn’t hear any discouraging words!Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After Custer State Park, we drove through the Needles. Such grandeur that God created.Needles, South Dakota photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Finally, we drove through Spearfish Canyon. Yet another beautiful place in the Black Hills. We saw lovely waterfalls and nature.DSC_8699 DSC_8731 2 DSC_8713 2DSC_8741 2

As we drove back to our home on wheels, we truly felt that we were in the wild, wild west. We passed through Deadwood where Wild Bill Hicock was shot. Buildings had false fronts like old time towns. And there were signs all over for gold mining. The gorgeous Black Hills have so many fun things to do and see. Even though we couldn’t do it all, it’s time to move on. Maybe someday we’ll come back to explore some more!

Mt Rushmore www.joyfulwonder.com

Check out previous posts about our westward trip: Might as well go to Mt Rushmore, More Badlands Photos

More Badlands Photos

Oh my, the Badlands are such a gorgeous place! I know I shared some photos in my last post from there, but I just had to share some that we took yesterday. We drove the whole Badlands loop and hiked all over. Plus, we saw some animals. We thought the prairie dogs were cute, but then we saw a sign that said they carry the plague! So, we decided they weren’t that cute after all. It was amazing to camp right there amidst the Badlands formations and I was a bit sad to leave. But today we drove to the Black Hills and will be staying there a few days. Hopefully, the rain will stop so we can see Mt Rushmore. I can’t wait to find out what inspires someone to carve president’s faces on a mountain. Well, here are more photos I took at the Badlands in South Dakota!

Badlands, SD Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com DSC_8335 DSC_8345 DSC_8347 DSC_8350 a DSC_8351 DSC_8366 DSC_8385 DSC_8401 2-001 DSC_8405 DSC_8420 3 DSC_8427 DSC_8432 DSC_8435 DSC_8458 DSC_8461 DSC_8465

Hope you enjoyed the pics! I love hearing from you! I’ll let you know what adventures we have at our next stop!

Matt and I at the Badlands, SD

Might As Well Go To Mt Rushmore

Life sure can be unpredictable. Especially when living with my hubby. On his birthday a few days ago, I gave him a birthday card that said he is my biggest adventure, and it’s true. We were only supposed to be going to Illinois to see family for a couple weeks, but suddenly he said, “Well, since we are going that far, we might as well go to see Mt Rushmore.” That man knows how to make me happy. I packed with a huge smile for this trip. Not only would I see precious family, but I’d be going on an adventure too.

First we spent almost a month with our son and his family, which includes our three adorable grandchildren who have absolutely stolen my heart. We were able to see Jonathan fulfilling his role as campus pastor at New Hope Newton church.

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We experienced lots of rain and even a couple tornado warnings while in Illinois. I smiled as I did my Bible reading this morning. It was Mark 4:37-41 where Jesus slept in the boat during a terrible storm. His disciples were terrified and woke him with the question, “Don’t you care?” I admit that storms do scare me a bit. It might have something to do with watching the house next door burn after being struck by lightening when I was 4 years old. But as I get to know Jesus a bit better, I am learning just how powerful and loving he is. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” and the waves and wind totally died down. During the storms of life, I am learning to trust that God will still the storm. So as we waited in the basement of our son’s house during tornado warnings, I attempted to share the faithfulness of our almighty God with my granddaughter. With all that rain, we had plenty of time to do art.

Oh, how those children love art! Even one year old Aaron will not be left out. If he sees me sitting down with his sisters to do “arting”, he fusses until he is on my lap and holding a pencil. He’s happy that way for an hour!IMG950460

My daughter-in-law, Johanna, and I learned a new artform: mosaics. Here we are with our instructor, Dinah Nuelle.DSC_7894 3

And I had the privilege of teaching my first two students how to do rug hooking. Johanna and her friend, Morgan, enjoyed designing their own projects and I got them started.  Aaron wanted to get in on the rug hooking too. I started calling him Leonardo because he seemed interested in so many things.

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It was difficult to leave those wonderful people, but it was time to explore. After stopping in Nebraska to visit Matt’s sister, we made our way to the Badlands in South Dakota. I found the lovely green plains and the big sky fascinating. I could see forever! It was the first time I had seen a speed limit sign for 80 mph! Don’t worry, I didn’t go that fast with the rig.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Beautiful bright blue butterflies flitted around and I snapped this pic of two mating.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I had made reservations right in the park for our camping. It’s almost boondocking, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. There is electricity at the site, but no water or sewer. So, we filled our holding tank with water ahead of time. I like that we are one step closer to being able to camp with no hook ups! The Cedar Pass campground is right next to beautiful Badlands formations.Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Our neighbors were lovely people that actually knew of the college where Matt and I attended and met, Houghton College. Not many people know of it. We enjoyed visiting with Max and Betty for a bit and then went driving in the Badlands.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What lovely formations!

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The mounds had stripes and the ground looked quite parched.

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.comBadlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What a great day. The sunset was amazing and bathed our camper in warm light. We hadn’t made it to Mt Rushmore yet but that’s next! Stay tuned.

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com