So yeah. There's just no way around it. Mount Rushmore is freaking cool.
I was a tiny bit worried that we'd go there and look at it and then be all, "Huh. Well, there's that." BUT SERIOUSLY IT'S SO COOL. There's just something about being there, even if it does look just like the pictures you see in movies and on billboards.
First, though, we went to see Crazy Horse. We didn't know it at the time, but it ended up being a majorly good decision to see Crazy Horse first before we visited Mt. Rushmore. Because let's just be honest: compared to Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse is kind of a letdown. It's cool and all that they're carving a guy on a horse into a mountain, but since it currently is just a face, it's kind of like, "Yeah, okay."
See for yourself:
See for yourself:
See what I mean?
In 200 years it will look awesome, though. Something to look forward to if we haven't yet had to evacuate to Mars. Hashtag global warming.
There's also a large Native American museum on the property, which was interesting but probably would have been more informative if Oklahoma didn't already have tons of Native American stuff all over the place. I did love all the paintings, and learning about the history of the mountain carving gave me a greater appreciation for what the carver went through to get as far as he's gotten with it.
Long story short, if you're visiting South Dakota for the first time, definitely take a trip to Crazy Horse. It's kind of an icon. But at $11/person, there's really no need to go multiple times until they've made major progress to the carving.
Since Crazy Horse is still being worked on, they do public blastings, and you can take rock from the monument. Luckily, I was able to talk Jordan out of taking one. I mean, that's neat and all, but seriously. What are you supposed to do with a piece of rock? As if we have space for more random crap in our apartment. No.
After Crazy Horse and lunch (hot dogs at the Crazy Horse food court. Yum), we drove to Mount Rushmore. Both of us were giddy with glee at the thought of finally seeing it in person, which leads me to a funny Jordan story:
When you're driving on the road to Mount Rushmore, you can't actually see the faces until you get around the front of the mountain. It looks mostly like this until they're almost right on top of you:
The faces aren't visible anywhere else along the road except for the profile of Washington's head, which you can see in the picture below.
So we've got the destination plugged into the GPS, and we're driving up the mountain, and then the GPS is like, "Turn left for final destination." And I'm like, "Jordan, turn left. There's the entrance." And Jordan looks to the left, sees the faces, and goes nuts and shouts, "There's the faces!" while continuing to drive right past the entrance and down the mountain away from Mount Rushmore. So we have to drive farther down until we find a spot to turn around and go back.
I like to tease him and say, "Hey, remember that time you drove right past Mount Rushmore?" I bet there are a ton of accidents on that road from people staring at the faces and crashing into each other.
You can't walk up to climb on the faces or anything Richie Rich style, but there is a half-mile "Presidential Trail" you can walk to get closer to the mountain. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. I mean, we really couldn't have asked for more perfect outside weather. And, anything after Labor Day is considered the "off season," so there weren't very many people. Two points for not being a teacher! We may not get summers off, but we can go on vacation during the off season. Whatup.
We went back that night to see the lighting ceremony, which happens every night at 8:00. I told Jordan it reminded me of when I was in Greece and saw the Parthenon lit up at night. He told me to stop bragging.
So that was Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore! I hope you enjoyed the pictures. It's so difficult to only choose a few to share from the hundreds I took. And again, there is just something about seeing it in person that you can't get from a picture.
Next up on our South Dakota adventure: Dinner in Hill City at the Alpine Inn, building a fire in our fire pit with wet wood and nothing but matches, Bear Country USA (aka where we see tons of black bears), a tour of downtown Rapid City.
Have you been to Mount Rushmore?
Do you think that's somewhere you'd like to go?
Anyone else seen a famous building or monument lit up at night?