(Reminder: this post is being published well after our visit, we are currently in Portland Oregon until Sept 4th)
They always say pictures aren’t the same as being there and this is certainly true at Mount Rushmore. After seeing pictures for all my life, to be standing at the base looking up at the Presidents carved into the side of a mountain in pretty amazing.
The site has dealing with the crowds and parking down to a fine art. Entrance to the site is free but we were disappointed that our newly purchased annual National Park pass doesn’t cover the $10 parking charge here. Oh well, it was money well spent. While you can see the mountain easily from the highway, being in the trees below or better yet at the base of the gravel created by the blasting of the hillside let’s you see the true scale of the carving.
The scale can also be seen in the model Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor used to direct the over 100 workers where to blast. He used the scale model (1″ equals 1 foot) along with a plumb bob to give the workers dimensions to use up on the actual mountain.
After leaving the actual site we drive part of a loop around the park through some interesting tunnels. After leaving the park we made a drive by of the Crazy Horse Memorial. Mount Rushmore was completed in 14 years (1927-41) whereas Crazy Horse carving was started in 1948 and is still very far from completion. I am doubtful it will be completed in my lifetime. When it is however it will be incredible as you can see in the picture showing the model of the sculpture with the actual hillside in the background. The heads at Mount Rushmore are 60′ tall-whereas Crazy Horse’s will be 90′ and his arm 263!
From there we headed towards Devil’s Tower. This rock pillar was left after the surrounding Hill was washed away over millions of years. It was amazing to see it from the distance and then up close also.
Leaving the Tower we headed towards Cody Wyoming after an overnight halfway there.