Friday, August 2, 2013

Magnificent Mount Rushmore

After taking our leave of the Fort Laramie area, we headed for the hills.  Specifically, the Black Hills of South Dakota. 

My grandfather had suggested that we see Mt. Rushmore by both day and night - advice we were eager to heed.  After settling into our hotel and having a bite to eat, we hit the memorial to see it illuminated.  We should perhaps have done a little more research - they don't just turn on the lights.  Rather, there is a (very well done) 45-minute presentation that begins around 9pm.  The Bunny fell asleep before it started, but the rest of us were very glad to see it, and the night-time view was incredible.

The next morning, we returned to the memorial for a closer inspection and a hike.  We picked up the Junior Ranger materials first, and were pleased to see that this one was within reach for both girls.  The one mile-ish Presidents' Trail is accessible for the first half-mile or so, and involves about 250 stairs after that viewing platform.  En route, we caught the tail end of a ranger talk about the Native American history of the area, and the girls checked out the inside of a teepee. 

This stop was probably the girls' favorite of the trip - they must have recited the presidents' names 50 times before we left.  They were also thrilled to earn their first Junior Ranger badges!  (N.B., And "earn" they did; there is a lot of work involved in getting those badges!)  While Joker and I could easily have spent more time in the visitor centers and museums, this was a wonderful visit.  Mt. Rushmore is a must-see for every family!

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