Black Hills, South Dakota

Rapid City, SD

Happy Holiday Campground

Part 1

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The Black Hills area contains many sights. Mount Rushmore is only one of them.

We had the time to view many of them. We started with Mount Rushmore, drove on the Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, SD Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop Road, and went to Wind Cave National Park. We missed Jewel Cave National Monument.

To show pictures from each, we divide this location into 3 parts.

Mount Rushmore was very interesting. The movie on how it was made was good, but the talk at the Sculptor's Studio was even better.
As it turns out Jefferson was to be placed on Washington's right. They carved part of his forehead, eyes, and nose and found that the rock below would not support the carving. So Jefferson was removed and placed on Washington's left.

The original plan was for the presidents to be shown from the waist up. However as they cut away the stone they found that the lower area would not be good to carve. So the carving ended with just their heads.

The Needles Parkway and Iron Mountain Road are very interesting drives. They are narrow and wind their way through the Black Hills. On the Iron Mountain road, to climb to the height in some areas they had to spiral the road up on bridges. One of the spirals went over 450 degrees.

Mount Rushmore National Monument

Walking on the Presidential Trail.
This trail got us near the bottom of the monument. The black area under Washington is the stone which caused them to only carve the heads.

The Sculptor's Studio
This is a 1/12 scale model of what was to be carved on the mountain. Measurements were made on the model and transferred to the mountain. (Every inch on the model was one foot on the mountain.)

Needles Highway
This was the narrowest of the three tunnels on the Needles Highway. 9'0" wide and only 12'0" high. That is a tour bus coming through. Because of the narrow road and very tight turns, they do not allow vehicles longer than 21 feet on the highway. Tour buses have a special permit. If you meet one on a turn you have to backup!

Cathedral Spires Trailhead
This was our hike off of the Needles Highway. This strenuous trail is 3.5 miles long. Because it started to get too rough, we turned back after about 3/4 mile.

Cathedral Spires Trail
This Mule Deer was feeding along side the trail. As we quietly stood there, he slowly kept approaching us and the trail and gave us some good pictures. He eventually jumped over the trail about 10 feet from us and continued to feed on tree leaves. We hated to leave!

Cathedral Spires Trail
Mon sat here and waited while I went ahead to see if the trail would get easier. there were large bolders ahead which had to be climbed. So this is where we turned back.
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