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Published: July 21st 2012
Another hot day for us today so we were up and going a little earlier than normal. Our first stop was Mount Rushmore. Tony has wanted to go there and walk the Presidential Trail ever since seeing it on "The Amazing Race". There were many nice views of the monument from all over the park. The comparisons between Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore are inevitable. The scale of Crazy Horse is immense but the work done for Mount Rushmore is awe inspiring as well. Like Crazy Horse the sculptor of Mount Rushmore died before it was completed and due to the start of WWII it was never finished.
After spending some time (and eating lunch) at the monument we headed south to Custer State Park. The park has a great scenic drive through it and we were able to see some engineering marvels, breathtaking landscapes, and unusual animals on our 3 hour tour (a three hour tour). The north end of the road has some unique "pigtail" bridges that curve over themselves as well as some one lane tunnels. If you look west through the first three tunnels you can see Mount Rushmore in the distance. As we headed into
Contemplation...or just resting?
The heat and the stairs really made the bench feel good.
the prarie section of the park we saw a few herds of bison, a few pronghorn antelope, a deer, a prarie dog town and a rather obstinate group of burros.
Heading north again we moved into an area that had been decimated by a forest fire in the last 10 years. The contrast to the rest of the park was amazing. We also took a side road up to a watch tower on one of the peaks where we had views to every horizon. We could even see the active forest fire that closed Wind Cave Park yesterday.
A few more tunnels, a rock scramble for Tony and Michelle and we finished our trip around Custer State Park. Our next stop was Rapid City to try our hands at a human sized maze and eat dinner.
The Black Hills Maze has over a mile of paths, four bridges and four towers that you have to find before leaving the maze. Michelle led the way and we found three of the four towers before getting slightly lost on our way to the fourth tower. We finally found the fourth tower and hot footed it to the exit. We
Pig tail Bridge
The road curls around and over itself. One even curled into a tunnel on the mountain side.
made it out in 32 minutes...not too bad. We were racing a thunder storm (seems to be a common theme) so that gave us a little incentive.
Dinner in Rapid City was good (Anne and Tony both tried a bison dish) and we took a little walk around town after dinner. The town seemed pretty relaxed with live music at a downtown ampitheater. There was also an alley that reminded us of bubble gum alley in SLO, only instead of gum there was graffitti.
Tomorrow, Tony and Michelle have a trail ride and Anne and Tony have massages scheduled in the morning. Dinner will be steak and cowboy entertainment from the chuck wagon tour.
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