Black Hills, SD – Mt. Rushmore and More

"Wild" Burros roamed around.

Wild turkeys trotted along.

Traffic Jam in Custer State Park

Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln

George Washington.

Approaching Mt. Rushmore

Crazy Horse

Skinny tunnel at The Needles.

The Needles

September 14-17, 2007 - After watching Devil's Tower retreat in the

distance, we made a brief stop in the Black Hills, visiting Custer State

Park and Mt. Rushmore.  There was lots of wildlife in Custer State

Park.  A group of buffalo took their time crossing the road and caused

quite a traffic tie-up.  The burros were wandering across the road and

lazing in the shade of a tree near the road as well.   Some wild turkeys

caught our eye as they pecked along at the roadside, and a deer

stopped to look at us.

We enjoyed the three dimensional nature of Mt. Rushmore's

famous sculptures of the four presidents as we caught them first

from one side and then from the other.  Another famous sculpture

in the area is of the Indian Crazy Horse.  It was begun shortly after

Mt. Rushmore was completed in the 1940's, but has been funded

solely by private donation, making progress very slow.  The

organization leading its creation has turned down federal funding

several times.

We drove through The Needles.  These granite formations are very

thin and tall, and the road is extremely narrow and twisty.  After we

barely squeaked through a tunnel carved in the rock, we watched

in awe as an experienced tour bus driver expertly took his bus

through the same opening.  His passengers reached out their

windows to touch the rock wall on either side of the bus.

Custer State Park was a real

jewel, and we would have

happily stayed several weeks.

However, the cold weather

was starting to penetrate our

sweaters and jackets and we

had a long way to go to get

back to the warmer climate in

Arizona.  So we headed west

through Wyoming, making

our way to northern Utah, stopping first at Flaming Gorge

National Recreation Area.