After being away, we jumped right into a day of adventuring. After the kids and I did Bear Butte, we ate lunch, picked up Scott and took off for Mount Rushmore. Rushmore has never been on my must-do list but it was on my “if I’m ever in the area…” list. We really enjoyed it.
As we were driving up, Scott and I were explaining the monument to the kids – just the usual: what we’re going to see, when it was made, a bit about the artist. Evie asked a great question. Why were those 4 men chosen to be made into “ginormous heads”. I didn’t know. Scott didn’t know. So when we got to the monument, I brought Evie over to a ranger and asked her to ask her question. Evie has developed a little shyness with strangers and I’m acutely aware of this mysterious need to “socialize her so she’s not weird” (esp since we’re hoping to home school her) so I figured talking to someone who is responsible for educating the public and should know the answer to her question was a decent place to start. The ranger was very sweet. She started explaining it to me, so I took a step back and looked after Jack so the conversation switched to an exchange between the ranger and Evie. It was cool to see. She’s becoming a little… person. She finding her voice.
Regarding the question – the artist wanted to represent the first 150 years of the republic and he selected Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln for different strengths they brought to bear in crafting America. Washington was the founding of the democracy, Roosevelt represented development, Lincoln was perseverance of the dream, Jefferson… I can’t recall. If I had to venture a personal guess it would have something to do with the Declaration of Independence but don’t hold me to it.
After that, we decided to drive Needles Highway. I didn’t know much about it – just that it was a Do Not Miss on TripAdvisor. What a delightful surprise!! The scenic byway goes through several tunnels, around interesting rock formations, to the peak of a ridge and finally dumps you out at the start of a wilderness loop through Custer State Park. Yes please. We spent the afternoon driving, getting out of the car, taking bad pictures of wild buffalo, deer, prairie dogs and turkeys and freezing our asses off. Our cool weather gear is in the Chief so we were in light sweaters, flip flops and normal clothes. Meanwhile everyone we saw had on their thin puffy jackets and gloves.
Wild. We were maybe 5 feet away.
Listen, if you’re going pull over on the side of the road to see a man about a horse, it’s highly likely I’m going to take your picture while you’re… negotiating. This is Scott… talking to the horse man. I’m still giggling.