Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

We were checking off our bucket lists and seeing every monument from here to was epic.

But not really. Considering we're a mere three hours or so from the two rock carvings, we figured we might as well make a day trip to go see them. So after a long night of Square Dance and free gifts, we were woken up bright and early by an ever so eager Texas.

With plans to leave at 10, we were packed up and in the car full of snacks by about 8:45. We might have left a man behind, but hey, minor details.

After a quick breakfast stop and fuel run, we were on our way with the help of our ever so trusty paper map, because electronic maps are so much less useful. After several hours of red dirt songs, rolling hills, a few Buffalo, and some much need cell service, we are finally within road sign distance of the two parks.

First we pass Crazy Horse, with our hearts set on seeing just old dude faces for now. Finally we arrive, we park and grab the camera with a strap, tourist style.

It was amazing. It's just like you see in the pictures, which to be honest, made the whole thing a bit anticlimactic, but still totally worth going to say you've been! After a short walk around the Presidential Trail we headed for what we all know everyone comes for, THE GIFT SHOP!! Well this place is stocked with people, key chains, squished pennies, coffee mugs, and even the occasional dream catcher. Well after elbowing a few children and adults, we were able to make it to the register and pay for our finds. {As an avid key chain and magnet collector, this place was heaven.} Then we were off...

With a mere 14 or so miles between the two monuments, we headed for Crazy Horse. Which was beyond amazing. It it absolutely massive. There is no way to really describe how large it is.

So for those of you that don't know, Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain carving that is still under construction. Started in the year 1948 by a Polish sculptor, the memorial plans to be the largest monument in the entire world. When the carving is done it will be the Indian Chief Crazy Horse riding his stallion pointing straight over the horses ears in reference to a quote he said "My lands are where my people lie buried." Thus far there is a face and the start of the hand and significant about of rock moved in order to start construction on other parts of the memorial. The project is entirely funded by the people that come to visit and the sales from gift shops and such. There are no trails for guests to walk up the memorial, only to see it from afar and view a model 1/34 the size of the monument.

Unlike Rushmore, there are several gift shops, an Indian cultural museum, the sculptor's original homestead, and several restaurants. There are tons of things to do and the scenery is incredible.

Overall it was a successful day trip that ended with a wing feast in Gillette. But if I was going to choose between the two, I would have to pick Crazy Horse. Although the price of admission is a little higher, the profits are going to a good place. There is a ton to do and the amount of time, culture, and history that is ingrained in the mountain that holds such an significant figure is breathtaking. Don't get me wrong, Mount Rushmore was awesome and no we didn't do any sort of the tours that they offer, but there was much less to do there and really after I had looked at the monument once I was ready to explore the other areas of the place. So yes, it was totally worth it to go to both and I had so much fun with Prince Charming and Texas, it was one of our few well used days off.

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