Mount Rushmore is the number one tourist attraction in South Dakota, so after I visited a local dentist for a lingering toothache yesterday morning, we took a drive there. (Good news, he couldn’t find anything wrong with the tooth, other than I am probably clenching or grinding my teeth at night.)
We then continued on to the huge parking garage and lot, for a $10 spot. There is no fee to get in the park, but there is no free parking anywhere close it. There were lots of people but it could have been worse.
We were there just in time for a guided ranger walk along the Presidents Trail. It wasn’t the best ranger talk we’ve heard, but he gave some interesting history about how the project got started and a little biography of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. We then went into the sculptor’s studio, where they had some good photos and information on how the work was actually done. It was quite a task. Since the rock is granite, erosion is only taking place at about an inch every 10,000 years, so South Dakota’s tourist industry is safe for awhile.
We decided to drive back the long way on Iron Mountain Road through the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park. It’s quite a steep, twisty road with several one lane tunnels. We were shocked to come upon a truck towing a 5th wheel with a good sized boat behind the camper winding it’s way up the switchbacks. It was preceded by a truck with it’s lights flashing, and as it passed us we realized the first truck had a chain attached to it and the second truck. Strange. We also couldn’t believe the 5th wheel would clear the 12’2” tunnel height, but we were past the tunnels by then so didn’t get to see what happened.
We stopped at an overlook and saw this cute little fawn. We see lots of deer but rarely see the fawns. Of course mama was close by.
Since we had to pay the $12 fee (good for a week) just to drive the road through Custer State Park, that’s where we will be hiking this week.