On our recent trip to South Dakota, one thing I didn't want to miss was visiting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The monument is in Keystone, just down the road from where we were staying in Hill City.
Although Barry had visited Mount Rushmore on a family trip many years ago, I had never been. And it was a great experience. The monument is spectacular to see in person. Watching the film shown in the visitor's center showing how it was constructed made us appreciate it all the more.
There were cars from so many different states in the parking lot -- this monument draws 'em from all over, nearly three million visitors per year!
We also enjoyed the promenade with flags from each U.S. state. This was not here when Barry first visited. Along with many other visitors around us, we had to find our home state for a photo by its column.
There's a huge amphitheater where people come nightly for the memorial lightning ceremony. This is also a newer addition since Barry was first here.
There's also a nice 1/2 mile walkway that allows visitors to get closer to the monument while climbing and descending many stairs. You can view the memorial from all angles from this walkway.
This view in particular got a lot of comments when I posted it to Facebook. I got a great view of George Washington from between a couple of giant boulders along the walkway. Did you know that Washington is the only president on the memorial without nostrils? I guess the sculptors got better as they went along, as Washington was the first face completed.
Along the walkway, there was a studio showing how the monument was created. This model is on a scale of 1' to 12' to the mountainside sculpture and allowed accurate measurements to be made when sculpting on the mountainside. A plaque explained that the lower portions like the coats were not intended to be part of the mountainside monument. I guess that would have been way too much work!
As we drove away, we were able to get one last look at George Washington in profile.
It is ironic that I am writing this post on October 1, 2013, the very day that the US government has been shut down. As a result, all national parks are closed, and the National Park Service web pages are not functioning. I hope that this impasse will be resolved very soon so that citizens will once again be able to visit important and historic places in the US National Park System.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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