Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009 Memorial Day at Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park, of course!

We wanted to spend some Memorial Day time at Mt. Rushmore. The heavy rains of yesterday and last night had stopped but storm clouds were in the air. Why not go, then so, off we went! As many times as we have seen this amazing sculpture, we are still always amazed and in awe of what this took to accomplish and what it represents. Another tourist took this shot of Carol and me with the Presidents in the background. We finally found the Mountain Goats. We have been told how elusive they are and this is the first time we have seen them. Then, look into the storm clouds in the upper center of the photo. Now tell me - is that Teddy Roosevelt? Sure looks like him. What better place would there be for him to be in the clouds, eh? There is a model of the sculpture in the sculptor's studio that looked out at the work in progress. It is scaled 1-12, 1 inch equals 1 foot. Then comes the shot that Mr. Borglum saw from his studio as the sculpture was in progress. As one can see, the model shows lower portions of the presidents and this is not found in the finished product. They discovered a different type of granite in this portion of the mountain and it could not be carved as well as the heads so it will never be completed, as modeled. Do you see the steep, long concrete trail coming up this portion of the mountain? Carol walked it, along with a .6 mile Presidential Trail, that traverses from one side of the visitors center, to the base of the mountain and back to the other side of the center. There are about 400 steps in all in this trail. She did them ALL!!! She has improved so much on this trip and I am so proud of her! As we drove away from Mt. Rushmore, we met this Mountain Goat alongside the road. WOW! Twice in one day! The storm clouds are darkening even more and the rain is starting. We found some begging Burros in the rain - "Please give me some food...ANYTHING!" One came up to Carol's window to give it one more try. We had purchased some baby carrots just for the Burros and forgot to bring them on this trip. Of course, there were deer. Here is a Pronghorn family - pop, pregnant mom and a yearling. How great is this? Between Bison herds, we passed this Prairie Dog subdivision. They were digging at their holes, maybe because the rain had disturbed the structures. Rain clouds on the mountain tops - Oh my gosh! We are driving in the mountain tops! Is this Bison huge or what? We are getting closer to a better shot of Mt. Rushmore from inside the Iron Mountain Road tunnels. Carol found this nice shot of Mt. Rushmore through the trees, too. Tomorrow is Carol's birthday so we are trying to figure out what we are going to be doing. Since the sun is to be shining and we are in the Black Hills, it is almost a certainty that at least part of the day will be spent in Custer State Park.

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