This was my favorite stop...beautiful Mt. Rushmore! And we were blessed with a perfect weather day in which to enjoy it -- clear skies of deep blue contrasted the gray-white granite of the sculpture...
When Jess was in Junior High, he wrote a report on Gutzon Borglum, creator of Mt. Rushmore. Mom had to do a bit of helping to get that report done, as I recall, so I learned a bit about the man and the mountain too. I remember Jess being irritated with me as I could not get the name right...I was always saying "Gutzum Borglon". : ) You'll be pleased to know, Jess, that I did not mispronounce once while we were there!
Having stayed only 2miles from the National Park, we got there early in the day, and the crowds were slim. A ranger we talked to said that they are open year-round, with about 1000 people per day in the off-season, and 10-11,000 per day during the summer! Though it was a sunshiny day, it was a bit cool, and we did not have summer size crowds to deal with...However, as the day passed, there were more and more people. We spent some time in the museum reading about the pointing system used to transfer the design from the models to the mountain, and about the tons and tons of explosives used...How do you get on a mountain, and carve an eye that is as big as you are? How can you make small cuts and angles in large stones and keep the plane of the design? Indeed, amazing!
For all that I already knew about Rushmore, I didn't know the "meaning of Rushmore". It was explained that these 4 Presidents were chosen for their significant contributions to the establishment of our nation: Washington, for his leadership in the founding of our nation; Jefferson, for the expansion of our territory; Lincoln, for holding our nation together; and Roosevelt, for his advancement of our international influence in modern times. Very fitting!
An extra bonus we enjoyed was seeing rangers rappel down Lincoln's face. They are doing their fall maintenance, filling in any cracks they find so that they will not fill with water, freeze and cause a fracture in the sculpture. They looked like flies on Lincoln's face! : )
Too soon, it was time to push on...We were trying to get back into Montana yet that day. We did take the time to have a cup of coffee in the dining room that looks out to the mountain -- and we were pleased to find espresso! : 0 So there IS one place in South Dakota where you can get strong coffee! : ) Of course, I had to make a stop at the gift shop for the requisite t-shirts, and a stuffed buffalo for Daisie...And I will say it before you have to -- yes --I'm a bit nutty about my dog!