Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore Summer 2010 travel blog

Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground

Hill City SD


Well the rain has passed and just a few clouds fill the sky. Our plan for today is to visit Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the evening program at Rushmore. So we packed up the cameras and off we went.

Mount Rushmore is just eight miles away from the campground. We arrived and found a parking spot big enough for the truck. We walked through the entrance then the walk of state flags. There are 56 flags for each state, districts, commonwealths, and territories of the United States. But, as you look through the flags the four presidential heads are in the background.

We soon were looking over the amphitheater to the mountain. There in front of us were the four heads, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The view was just breath taking and we sat in amazement on how these faces were carved in the granite stone. After taking a number of pictures we toured the exhibits and a short movie on how Gutzon Borglum carved away the stone to reveal these leaders.

Then we headed south past the campground and another 5 miles to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Crazy Horse was chosen because he defended his people and their way of life. When asked where he lived, Crazy Horse replied “My lands are where my dead are buried.” Although just the face of Crazy Horse is finished the crew is working on chipping away large pieces of the mountain to continue the memorial. Korezak Ziolkowski and Chief Standing Bear both worked together to bring this memorial to the Native Americans who were here long before the white man. This memorial is funded entirely by private funds and donations. Ziolkowski believed in the free enterprise system so much that twice they have refused money from the government to work on this memorial. Also, Red Cloud, a Lakota, said of the government, “They made us many promises, more than I can remember-They never kept but one: they promised to take our land and they took it!” Since Ziolkowski’s death, his wife and seven of his ten children are continuing the work on the mountain. When finished this will be the largest sculpture in the United States. We toured the exhibits and took a number of pictures that are posted at the link below.

Next we headed back to the campground to spend some time with Heidi. We would take a little rest and then dinner (bbq rib eyes, baked potatoes, and salad … yumm ‘O). However, as were taking it easy thunderstorm warnings were running at the bottom of the TV screen. The warning was for heavy rain, wind, and golf ball size hail. I can tell you I was watching the sky … I would just hate to see the truck and trailer pelted by hail. The thunderstorms passed to the north of us so we were in the clear and had nothing to worry about.

We headed back to Rushmore for the evening program. As the sun set and darkness filled the sky the program started. After a short presentation from one of the park rangers about the presidents they showed a short movie on why each president was chosen by the sculptor. To end the program we all sang the national anthem as the mountain was lighted. Then all active duty and veterans were called to the stage for a flag lowering ceremony by a group of Boy Scouts from Nebraska. We soon arrived back to the campground and turned in for the night.

Today will be a down day. Debi vacuumed the trailer and will do laundry. Later we will go into Hill City to visit a couple wineries and then a quick stop by the store for a few odds and ends.

We are having a great time

I have posted more pictures on the web.

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