Sunday was a sightseeing day in the Black Hills area. It was nice to be able to sleep in and not be in a rush to anything. After a great breakfast, we left our Hotel in Custer, SD to visit the Crazy Horse mountain carving. We made sure that we stopped to get our 3 canned goods each for admission to the area.
I was not sure what to expect at Crazy Horse. I had done a little reading on their website about it. When we arrived and I saw the sculpture in the distance, I was amazed. In the distance stood this amazing monument in the works.
For those of you who may not know about the Crazy Horse carving, it is a massive mountain sculpture in the Black Hills that is being carved out of the mountain. It is similar to Mount Rushmore except a lot larger and is being carved in the round (carved on both sides of the mountain). The monument just celebrated its 65th Anniversary since the start of carving. The entire project is funded by donation and does not accept any federal financing. Although the government has offered money for this monument, the late artist and his family have refused it.
We walked to the visitor center and watched a film that presented the story of the mountain and the project. We then browsed the visitor center and the gift shop. I was able to get a large rock that had been blasted from mountain. They have rocks available for a donation. Seems like a good deal – donation for the project and free rock haul-away!
It’s hard to believe that this massive project may not even be completed in my lifetime. It has already taken 65 years to blast away large portions of rock and sculpt the face. The body, horse, and arm still need to be completed. The more donations they receive, the faster it will be completed. After taking many pictures, we headed back to Custer, SD for lunch.
In the late afternoon, we headed to Mount Rushmore. It was my first trip to the monument and I was really looking forward to visiting this historic site.
We were able to do a self-guided audio tour that took us on a path up close to the monument. It presented the back story of the building of the monument and information about each of the presidents. Despite parts of the tour being steep, uneven steps, the tour was full of great history and background information. It added a lot to the experience.
We took a little break and had some ice cream while we looked through photos of the day. We then went to the amphitheater for the evening program. It consisted of a short video about Mount Rushmore, about the presidents and what they stood for, and concluded with the monument being lit up with flood lights.
I was moved by the explanation of each of the presidents and what they stood for. They emphasized their view of doing what’s right, being morally upright, and working hard for the people they governed. It made me think of how different the presidents of that day were compared to government officials today. Policy and procedure has taken over doing the best for all. Tolerance has taken over moral good. Pomp has taken over care for this country. I hope that politicians can take a few tips from the lives of these great presidents.