Sunday, July 24, 2005

Black Hills & Badlands Part 6 - Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer State Park

The original plan for 7/22, our second day in the Badlands, was to do a bit of roaming around the park and just take a long siesta. Well, because of Dotty's exhortations, we took a day-long side trip. The first leg was the forementioned Wall Drug and then we were back into the car headed for Mt. Rushmore.

The commercialization from Rapid City all the 40 mile way into Rushmore was revolting -- think the worst aspects of Maggie Valley, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg and you're almost there. Once we got into the slim perimeter of protected lands, it got better...and then the familiar scene came into view. Rather than spending the 8 bucks to park and to go the museum, Genna navigated to the employee parking lot immediately behind the musuem where I snagged this shotRight around a bend in the road, there was a pull-off where you could view the profile of George...

And so we continued on to the Crazy Horse monument which poses as a sort of politically correct counter to Rushmore. You can read all about it here -- the story of the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski who essentially gave over half his life to the project is quite moving as is the fact that his widow and seven of his ten children continue on with the mammoth project 47 years after the first blast. The ultimate plan is to have a medical university and several other facilties at the monument.

Here's the view of what's been completed

The finished piece is to look like this

The finished monument will have this "poem" sculpted into the side of the mountain - the last line is attributed to Crazy Horse himself and dovetails with the scupture's detail as he points:

"When the course of history has been told Let these truths here carved be known:
Conscience dictates civilizations live And duty ours to place before the world. A chronicle which will long endure For like all things under us and beyond. Inevitably we must pass into oblivion. This land of refuge to the stranger Was ours for countless eons before: Civilizations majestic and mighty. Our gifts were many which we shared And gratitude for them was known. But later given my oppressed ones Weremurder, rape and sanguine war. Looking from whence invaders came, Greedy usurpers of our heritage. For us the past is in our hearts. The future never to be fulfilled. To you I give this granite epic. For your descendants to always know- My lands are where my dead lie buried. "

There was an awesome museum. One woman had a fantastic t-shirt and I offered her my opinion. I then asked if I could photograph it. Instead of doing that I purchased this poster with the same content...speaks for itself.

For the moment, because of time constraints, you'll have to enjoy Genna's photographs of the buffalo at Custer State Park without commentary.

We're headed to Teton/Yellowstone today --could be dark here at the blog for a week given the absence of technology but we'll post as soon as we're able.


John & Genna