We decided to hit-up Mount Rushmore again by day on our drive back to Denver. Even though we got some great shots 2 nights prior at sunset, we didn’t get an up close view of the Presidents and it was only a 30 minutes detour or so past Rapid City to get back into Custer State Park and re-tread our path out of the Badlands back in to the mountains.
To remind you, here’s what we did at Sunset on Saturday night for Mount Rushmore. We found a perfect vista lookout point off the road coming from Custer State Park, which put us about the same elevation as Mount Rushmore. We recommend this approach because it makes a spectacular first-time epiphany viewing moment.
Here’s another one, where Mount Rushmore is framed perfectly by trees.
We learned our lesson at Crazy Horse and decided not to pay the entrance fee to Mount Rushmore, but rather just stayed outside and grabbed some pics from viewing areas along the road. Perhaps this is part of the reason we like Mount Rushmore much more than Crazy Horse (because we weren’t suckered in to the tourist trap – which I’m sure exists all inside the Mount Rushmore area).
Then I was able to capture your over-top-top American cheese flag-waving in the background obligatory pic.
Poor Teddy – in this lighting I couldn’t get a good picture of him without the shadow.
I did some reading afterwards on the creation of Mount Rushmore and how these faces were carved into the granite mountainside of the Black Hills near keystone, South Dakota. The sculptor was Gutzon Borglum, a Danish-American, and the product of Mormon polygamy – having grown up in the Mormon community in Idaho. Borglum is an interesting character and is worth a read on Wikipedia. He had a penchant for sculpting on a larger than life scale, and even sculpted Abraham Lincoln’s head from a 6-ton marble block, that was ultimately exhibited at the Whilte House (and is now in the Capitol Crypt). Borglum believed that the “monuments we have built are not our own.”
Mount Rushmore was carved from 1927-1941 and had several failed attempts at the presidents’ faces, which were blown up and re-done. It was the brainchild of Doane Robinson but the idea of American President faces was from Borglum.
Just prior to Mount Rushmore, while driving through Keystone, we decided to do a little panning for gold.
We found a few flecks and improved over the course of the hour, but we didn’t find anything of value.