Friday, 5 August 2011

Summer Vacation 2011: Day 4

On our way to Mount Rushmore we had to go buy tickets to the Jewel Cave on Thursday morning.  It sells out so you have to buy in advance.  We drove the scenic route along The Needles Highway.  We were able to witness the Cathedral Spirals and they were breathtaking.  I love the vivid blue sky behind the needles and the car driving through the one lane tunnel.
We made a pitstop at the Flintstone Park.  They have a eatery, a store and a campground.  Apparently the campground is as expensive as a hotel.  When I was perusing the store I saw lady buy a bunch of t-shirts and toys for her kids.  I was surprised because I didn’t think kids these days would even know who
The Flinstones were since it was no longer on or at least I don’t think it is. It was a neat little place for Greg and I to go to.  The two photos in the bottom are not absolutely identical.  One has me in it as the waitress and the other is Finley.
On Monday we headed out to see Mount Rushmore.  It was stifling hot.  It was approximately 37 degrees which if you live in Calgary is disgustingly hot.  We all found it hard to enjoy what we were seeing with it being so hot.  It had granite flooring or something that made it even hotter!!
Luckily for us, they have a program in the evening where you can watch a brief movie and hear a speech about the history of the monument, the presidents on it and why it was created.  It took 14 years to finish and nobody died while it was being carved.  Unfortunately the man who’s vision it was never lived to see the end result.  We went back after supper and were better able to enjoy it.
The lighting of the monument was spectacular and Finley made some new friends.  Brendan and Tre were little boys around hte same age as her and invited her back to play with them in Wisconsin.  It was pretty cute.  Here are some photos from the evening.

Before Mount Rushmore, we stopped in at Crazy Horse.  The monument is still being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain and represents Crazy Horse, a Oglala Lakota Warrior, riding a horse and pointing to the distance.  It is on private land and was offered $0 million from the US Governmentn on 2 occasions to finish it and have it turned into a national monument but it was refused because the creator believed that the project was more than just a sculpture and government involvement would cripple the cultural meaning behind it.  If it ever finishes it will be the world’s largest, non-religious sculpture in the world.  I say if because it was started in 1948 and it still is not finished.  I really hope that it finished during my lifetime because when it does, it is going to be simply spectacular.  The white statue in the photo is what the end product will be.  They are almost to the horse and when that is done, it will be cool!
They also have some amazing museums and shops and galleys you can look through making it a much nicer experience that Mount Rushmore and the best part was that it was air-conditioned!!  There were some really stunning exhibits!
After visiting Mount Rushmore + Crazy Horse we went into Keystone for lunch.  The town was pretty cool – similar to Hill City but not as welcoming.  The food was average and all restaurants appeared to be similar in quality.
On our way back to the campsite, we took the Custer State Park Wildlife loop and managed to see some Wild Burros (fancy name for miniature horses if you ask me, deer, prong horned antalope and tonnes of Buffalo.  It was really cool to see random bison throughout the area because we don’t have that here!
This concluded our 4th day in South Dakota

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