Mount Rushmore

So, the token destination(s) in the Black Hills are Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse (which we will be doing this weekend).  Mount Rushmore is one of those quintessential, American, driving-on-vacation destinations, as evident by the crowds and the diversity of those that we saw while there.  The monument itself is pretty cool, but also kinda lackluster in that "oh you've got to see this, although it's never quite up to the hype and never meets your expectations" sort of way.  If it were the only thing to do in Custer, I don't know that I would have stopped and stayed here for any length of time (fortunately it's not -- there's a plethora of things do see and do in the area).

Anyway, back to Mount Rushmore -- it's worth a visit if you're in the area, and the ranger-led hike talking about the monument was the highlight for us (we had a really good, passionate ranger with us, who taught middle-school history, BTW).  We were going to stay for the lighting at night (@9:00pm), but after 2 hours, we had seen everything there was to see, and just didn't want to sit on bleachers for another 2 waiting.

The one good thing is that it's a yearly pass -- so you pay once for your vehicle, and can come back for the rest of the year (pretty good deal there).

The museum has a few good displays about how it was created, and lots of interviews with the workers who did the work (and talked about their experiences) -- remember that it was finished up in the early 40's, so it's not terribly old.  There's also the sculptor's studio, which contains the original models and descriptions of how everything was supposed to be laid out.

In short, it's not worth it if it's the only thing that you're going to do in the area, but if you're up in the area anyway, and are here to do it all, then for sure stop by and see it.

This is the sculptor's studio, located a 1/4 mile away from the actual site, at the base of the "mountain".

Close up of the model of what the monument was "supposed" to look like.

After the holes were drilled in the rock, they would either use an explosive charge (i.e. dynamite) or they would simply break off the chuck with a chisel.

Here's a side profile pic of Washington from just outside of the park.


Watch the 4th of July fireworks at the park. Well worth it. Also, don't forget to go to Wall Drugs. Cheezy and very fun.

Perspective, everything is perspective. I expected disappointment and instead was blown away by the monument. I actually went back for a second visit the next day.

I wish that were the case -- I really did enjoy it, but I was expecting so much more! Now Crazy Horse -- that was cool! I haven't blogged it yet, but after Rushmore I actually had a much lower expectation from it, and was blown away by it!

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