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US West Blog: Spring 2012

South Dakota, Mount Rushmore

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Mount Rushmore
Road Tripping: Across Central Wyoming to South Dakota

We were on the road May 9, Wednesday. It’s a long way across the central part of Wyoming, with rather little to look at until we got to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Two nights at the Mountain View Lodge in Hill City, SD were the perfect place to see Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse statue, Custer State Park (buffalo! antelope!), and the stunning Cathedral mountains. Hill City is a lovely little town, nearly empty before the summer season breaks loose. We sincerely enjoyed Desperados restaurant noon and night.

Highlights:

Mount Rushmore was far more majestic than either of us expected! Glorious blue skies and 70 degrees inspired that interpretation, but there were so many walks and pull offs that allowed multiple, stunning views of this huge stone sculpture. How DID they do it? We went back at 9 p.m. and were stunned to be the ONLY people there to admire the sculpture lit up at night.

The Crazy Horse sculpture, barely begun in the past decades with lots more to go, gives an idea of HOW such mammoth sculptures are created. My heavens, strategic heavy blasting that opens rock to be carved. Amazing engineering. Crazy Horse is totally privately funded and being built by one family! Read about it at http://crazyhorsememorial.org/

Custer State Park: a long meandering drive took us by a herd of buffalo, a few tiny antelope, a signs of a prairie dog community (see Devil’s Tower). The plain here is wide open, with gently sloping pastureland and deep forests. At the far end of the drive were the Cathedral Mountains: tall, spiky rocks pushed close together. Majestic and dramatic way to end our day. At the bottom, we walked around Sylvan Lake as the weather got bitterly cold and windy.

Unfortunately, I’ve come down with a terrible sinus infection, thus the slowness of these blogs! Will catch up eventually. Finally got good drugs (May 15) and feel a change a-comin’!