Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and The Badlands of South Dakota

As we head further east, our first stop was Mt. Rushmore.

The mountain was named after a New York attorney, Charles Rushmore in 1885. It took from 1927-1941 to complete. The sculpture features the 60-foot heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation, respectively.

Picture of Mt. Rushmore before carvings

Next, we made the 30-minute journey to see Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse was a Lakota war leader of the Oglala band in the 19th century. He took up arms against the United States federal government to fight against encroachment by white American settlers on Native American territory and to preserve the traditional way of life of the Lakota people.

In 1876, Crazy Horse led a band of Lakota warriors against Custer’s Seventh U.S. Cavalry battalion. They called this the Battle of the Little Bighorn also known as Custer’s Last Stand.

Crazy Horse was in negotiations with the U.S. Calvary when an interpreter misinterpreted what Crazy Horse said, and he was imprisoned where he wouldn’t surrender. He was wounded by a bayonet and later died.

Carving today, basically just the head is carved

The rock carving started in 1948, and is still being carved today.

How it will be carved out when completed
Replica of Crazy Horse Rock Carving

We then drove an hour and a half to the Badlands of South Dakota, where we found temperatures of 92 degrees.

As we drove into the national park, there were lots of rock formations. There was an ancient sea, 37 million years ago, that covered what we call the badlands today. There are fossils in the rock from the sea animals. The rock has windblown volcanic ash. The ash weathered into clay and formed these rocks.

We saw several signs warning us of the hazards that might lie ahead.

We didn’t see any Rattlesnakes but we did see Big Horn Sheep, Bison, Prairie Dogs, Prong Horn, and an owl.

Big Horn Sheep
Prairie Dogs were everywhere
Prairie Dog hole
Prong Horn

Part of the park was the rock formations and the other part was prairies with Bison and Praire Dogs. The Owl we saw was small but had these large neon yellow eyes. So disappointed I couldn’t get a picture of the owl but found it online. I wanted to share it with everyone.

Burrowing Owl which will live in an abandoned Prairie Dog hole
This plant grew in the badlands, the fuzzy look in the picture was sort of like the white that forms from a dandelion. Very pretty plant.

The Badlands were just as interesting as the other parks we have visited.

I promise we are moving East and tomorrow’s blog will be from Minnesota and from there we will be driving southeast.


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