Part of the trail was closed...although we were used to dealing with that...for a laser scan
. Some French university or something was going to do a free laser scan on the rock face. The park service has a firework display in the summer and they needed to take down all of the equipment. That was a highlight for Brian, at the top of the trail he met some of the workers and could watch everything with his binoculars. It was pretty cool how they had all of that equipment running up and down Teddy's face. The kids would run ahead a lot and hang out and wait for the rest of us. This picture of Katie is one such place and then another picture below is where all 3 of the kids climbed for a better view.
We learned a lot about the sculpter and the 4 presidents on the mountain. They changed a lot of things since we were there last. New parking garages, new audio tours, new boardwalks, new visitor centers (which were open by the way). It seems like this place gets a lot of visitors. It was interesting to find out that the scupltor Borglin was a real jerk (they didn't say so directly..but eluded)...he got steaming mad at people if they did something wrong and then he would fire them. His son, who seemed a lot calmer, would hire them back the next day. His son was an artist in his own right and actually finished what remains of the project that we see after Borglins death.
Thankfully, no one died on the project and it was quite interesting just the same
. One reflection i had was that none of these men that were carved on the stones were gods in any way nor did they have an easy life. Thomas Jefferson had 6 children (that they admit to) and 4 of them did not live beyond 2 years old. His wife also died bearing the last child that died...imagine the sorrow. He was in a fury of politics at the time. He also was a scientist who never really wanted to be involved in politics, but felt that he had no choice but to help form this country. Just before his term was up, he quoted that he felt like he was being release from prison. It makes me kind of think about the talents we all are given and that sometimes we think they are too much to bear, but that when they are used for the better good we are all better off.
Well...our days have been getting started later and later. I think we are wearing down a bit and there are a lot of miles to go. We got to Mt. Rushmore about noon time and I expected only to stay a couple of hours. Instead, we ended up staying there almost 5 hours. Along with the walk/hike (i say that because it was mostly stairs and it used to be on a hiking path) was na audio tour. They had a mini-what-looked-like-a-phone and when you wanted to listed to a particular section, you pushed the number on the audio"phone". My James...Mr...I don't care about history...wanted his own audio phone and so we said...why not. You know he was more facinated with Mt. Rushmore than any other historical activity we had ever done. It could be that it was because Mt. Rushmore is on the cover of his social studies book...and it finally brought it to life.