As I mentioned in the last post, we went to several area attractions yesterday. First we went to Mount Rushmore and we arrived at the perfect time; a ranger tour was starting so we got in on that and learned a lot about the sculptor and the images on the mountain. The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, originally had intended for everything down to the waist of George Washington would be sculpted and that more of Lincoln would be shown. Due to rock imperfections and other things, only the heads were done. It was interesting to learn some of the detail that went into the monument.
We left there and went to the Crazy Horse monument. We had only intended to just look at it from the road and then move on but decided that we might not get back this way for a while so what the heck.....boy, it was a good thing that we went. What a fascinating monument ! Although the monument is still under construction, it is an amazing story on how it came to pass and the fact that it is totally funded by private contributions, without any state or federal funding. The size and magnitude is colossal. See that hole,,,,that is the area that is under his arm that is pointing. That opening is nine stories tall. The horses head, when completed will be 22 stories tall. It was great that we went to Mount Rushmore first because it gave us a great perspective on size. You can take all of the heads from Mount Rushmore and fit them in the head of Crazy Horse....wow, this is going to be massive when it's done. Too bad that it won't be in my lifetime. I would really love to see it when it's completed.
The original sculptor, who started Crazy Horse...Korczak Ziolkowski..passed away in 1982. His wife, who is 18 years younger than he was, continues on with the work, along with eight of the ten kids they have. The movie that they have in the visitor center, has some neat insight into the project and the kids talk about the strength of their conviction to finish their father's project. They are making great changes in the look of the monument but it's a huge undertaking. Click on the blue picture, below, to see the size of some of the features of the monument.
Once completed, this monument will be larger than any other monument in the world...larger than the sphinx or the Washington monument. Incredible ! There are so many different buildings there at the complex that you could spend hours looking at the Indian artifacts, watch the artisans making jewelry, see some of the other pieces that Korczak created, etc. They are building another wing on the one building that will make another exhibit area. Lots to look at and learn about....
We left Crazy Horse and drove to Custer State Park. It had sprinkled off and on all day but as we got to the park, the sky started to darken again. We wanted to drive through the wildlife loop, since there is a large bison herd there. Yep, there is...we got just a short ways into the loop and saw a lot of cars pulled off on a side road. We went to explore and there was about 50 bison there. Then, it started to pour rain ! Lots of baby bison there with the moms and rest of the herd. They didn't seem to mind all of the cars, cause they milled around on the road in front of the cars. Rush hour of buffalo...
Finished all of our sight seeing and went back to the park...exhausted. Got together with Colette and Dennis one last time before pulling out this morning. So good to see them......been way too long and hopefully it won't be another four years before we catch up to them again.
Pulled out this morning around 9:30 and hit the road. Not going far...only about 150 miles down the road. Right now we are sitting at Yellow Mounds Overlook, on the Badlands loop, listening to the NASCAR race back home in Watkins Glen (on the radio), having a bite to eat and enjoying the beautiful day. Gorgeous views everywhere you look ! It doesn't get any better than this ! Enjoy your day.....more later.