Our second adventure of the day involved Mount Rushmore. I had been there when I was twelve and was somewhat amazed at the difference. I remembered seeing the faces framed by tunnels we drove through – a beacon ever pulling us on. It was beautiful to see. We arrived in the line to pay our admission fees without ever once seeing them through a tunnel. I was most disappointed and had to apologize to the girls for getting them all excited over nothing… 🙂
This is our first view of Mount Rushmore when we got out of the car and were in the memorial. There are flags on all four sides of the pillars celebrating each state and territory of the USA.
At the end of this walk way, we came to the new observation deck:
I could see people walking on boardwalks under the cascade of rocks behind us – they were up close to them, so I asked one of the Park Rangers how we could do that. Well, apparently in the years between my visits, they have changed quite a few things to be more publicly accessible. So imagine my delight when he announces that to the right of me is a trail that leads to a museum that houses a model that Gutzon Borglum constructed to show his design. Yea! A museum! And, yes, we can walk to the base by the rocks – the Presidential Trail boasts 280 steps…hmmm!
Down the trail we headed. Just around the first curve was the Old Observation Deck that I remembered from my childhood – complete with the telescopes.
Inside the museum was a face that the carvers used to make sure they were doing the faces right. The models would dangle over the edge of the mountain and the carvers would consult it. Sounds like a great plan…but the models (which are huge) were only 1/12th the size of the face. In order to carve, you would have to know how to do some math!
Onward we went on this trail….I can promise that there is at least 280 stairs as I climbed many of them twice. (Why do our kids always have to go to the bathroom in the middle of these places – and why, oh why, did we have all girls??? 😉 )
Here is one view of Washington from the trail:
We had a great time hiking around the trail. We enjoyed the mountain air, the wonderful color of the sky, and the various birds and animals that we glimpsed.
Here’s our final picture of Mount Rushmore from the trail:
It was getting late in the afternoon and we needed to stop at the store and get to Custer State Park so we could finally camp for the night!