Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.
Trip Start Nov 17, 2010
113Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We drove up into the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, and every time we turned a corner and saw a funny shaped cliff face we got all excited. We were looking out for our first glimpse of Mt Rushmore. Eventually it came. It's such a weird feeling when you have seen something on TV or in books a gazillion times, and suddenly you come face to face with the real thing. It's one of my favourite feelings, and it happens ALL THE TIME here in the States, because there are so many famous landmarks. The Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign, The Empire State Building, the Lincoln Memorial, Niagara Falls, the Declaration of Independence and now Mount Rushmore. It gives me butterflies, and my eyes feel like they should stare for as long as possible while they can, before the sight is taken away for ever.
So after our first teasing glance we pulled around into the car park. The lady said we had to pay cash, and we didn;t have any. She said we could pay inside and just show her our pass on our way out, by pulling back into the carpark. We could easily get away without paying, but we paid, because she didn't have to let us in and she did. So we locked the car and walked up some steps and along a covered walkway, which was laid out so that your view of Mt Rushmore was blocked until you reached the Avenue of Flags. The Avenue of Flags was lined with pillars, and each pillar had 4 sides, each representing a state, saying when it joined the Union. Each pillar had a state flag protruding from it. This lead the way to the main viewing point of Mount Rushmore. Kt and I stayed here for ages taking photos. Then we headed down into the museum. The museum was interesting....and got even more interesting after I saw 2 young boys being asked questions about what they had learned. They were asked who their favourite president was and one replied 'Washington because he is the Father of our Country' and the other said 'Roosevelt, because he is the only one up there with a mustache'. They were about 7 or 8. Adorable. Then suddenly, the lady said to them 'well done boys, you are now Junior Rushmore Rangers, here are your badges!' Well naturally I wanted to be a Junior Rushmore Ranger and have a shiny badge too, so I went up to the lady and asked what I had to do
I wish everywhere had these kinds of things....activities and books to fill out. It really made us learn because we had to read everything. I usually just read what interests me...but to fill this out I had to read EVERY single thing in the museum because there was no way to know which bit held the answer you needed. There was a page all about the movie that we watched, a page about the lives of the men working on the mountain, a page about the Avenue of Flags....we learned so much! We stayed for hours, and we were awarded our badges on the way out. They seemed very amused as we went in to claim our prize. One Ranger said to me 'what did you learn?' and I proudly replied 'I learned that it goes 'Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Lincoln!'' He laughed and said 'very good, most kids don't know that!' I was so chuffed.
So what now? It was about 2pm and we still had the day in South Dakota. We had heard that the Crazy Horse Monument was meant to be good, so we put it into our satnav and proceeded 'to the highlighted route', with no idea what crazy horse was, or what to expect.
It turned out that Crazy Horse was an Indian chief....a fierce but just Indian chief. He fought very hard for his land and his people. He is most famous for his reply to a white warrior who was laughing at him and yelling 'Where are your lands now?' after killing many of his people. His reply was 'My lands are where my dead lie buried'.
He is a symbol of strength amongst the Native Americans, and one man of part Indian heritage decided that he would carve a monument of Crazy Horse out of a mountain, Mt Rushmore style. We wondered as we walked around the museum why the models of the monument looked so much more impressive then the real thing, and soon realized that it isn't actually finished yet! They are still working on it every day. I would love to see it when it's done...it will look amazing, but it may not even be done in my life time. So we spent quite a while here, bought a charm, and then went back to Mt Rushmore to buy a charm from there. Kt stayed in the car as I quickly went up to the gift shop. The lady in there told me that in half an hour they turn the lights on that light Rushmore up at night. We didn't think they did this in the winter. I went back down to the car to tell Kt, and so we sat for a while in the warm before making our way back to see the Presidents all lit up. It was beautiful.
As we walked back to the car and both opened our doors, a strange feeling came over me, about how nice it was to be getting in the car with someone. Even if someone annoys you sometimes, it's great to have someone to share your experiences with. It beats being alone any day.