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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!