After we finished the three day preacher’s conference in Sioux Falls, and the trip to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s little town of De Smet, South Dakota, we headed west to see Mount Rushmore. It was out of the way and we were exhausted by the time we arrived, but when we saw the “four faces” (as Matthew calls it) for the first time, we were in awe!
I took about two hundred photos there – yes, you read that right – but I soon realized you can only photograph the side of a mountain so many times and in so many ways. It’s not like their expression will change! Haha! I did capture several different angles though. I noticed that the mountain looked different in the sunlight verses the shade, too. I enjoyed trying out my zoom lens and different settings on my camera. We had to drive seven hours after our Mt. Rushmore visit so that we could be home by Saturday, so we tried to hurry. We took a two mile hike, which led us to see the monument from different vantage points. I was so thankful that God allowed us to see it in the autumn! I can’t imagine it looking any prettier any other time of year. I was also thankful for the gorgeous day God gave us to see it. That area has already seen snow this year, so we were a bit nervous about driving and viewing conditions. All in all, it was a marvelous trip. I praise the Lord for allowing us this opportunity and for guiding us safely there and back again. Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos I took.
On our way from one side of South Dakota to the other, we passed through Pierre, the state capital. We learned that they pronounce it “peer”. We also learned that you can drive right up beside the capitol building and get your photo taken without any trouble at all! Pierre is only about 13,000 people, which is a fairly low population for a state capital. It was a lovely city though! We enjoyed our last fast food meal for the trip here.
Our first sight of Mount Rushmore!
The following photos are from the hike we took. I was able to get various angles of the monument. Hope they don’t bore you. 🙂
I loved the really blue sky in this one.
Along the hike, you can go inside this cave and look up at the monument to see George Washington looming above you.
My zoom lens on the Nikon allowed me to get *really* close to the faces. Look how the eyes are made! Fascinating.
Around the base of the monument, you can see the stones that were blasted from the granite mountainside. The long divot in the rock in the center is from the explosives. They drilled into the granite, slid in dynamite and the explosion formed part of a face. In fact, 90% of the monument was shaped with dynamite! Amazing!
Mitchell climbed up this huge rock. Behind him is the sculptor’s studio. Gutzon Borglum, the designer and main sculptor, worked in this studio where he could see the progress on the project out of the huge windows (which are behind this boulder in the photo).
Inside the studio, you can see this scale of what the finished monument was supposed to look like. I love how it looks, but it would have been really wonderful to have seen it all finished.
I enjoyed seeing the lovely autumn leaves so much. It’s one of the things I miss about home.
What a joy to see this with my best friend! Every day is an adventure with this guy. 😉
Tada! Just being silly.
I take my kids’ photos every year for frames in my living room. It’s an easy way to decorate! I was planning to snap their photos at the Wildlife Refuge near our home, but haven’t had the time. One look at the fall leaves in South Dakota and I decided I’d take the photos right there!
[Note to family members: feel free to right-click and save, if you wish. I will try to develop these and mail some out, but it may take a while.]
We discovered on the way home that driving through western South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma is bleak. There are few gas stations and restaurants, so we did a lot of praying! 😉 We did see a lot of the “bread basket of the U.S.”, and we are thankful for the farmers who keep us fed.
This journey was a wonderful experience for our family. Thanks for tagging along with us.