Sunday, January 20, 2008

South Dakota

I (Case) am in South Dakota, working (for a change) while my dear wife keeps the home fires burning and our bathroom remodel from getting too bogged down. This weekend -- one of a very few I've spent apart from the wife -- I tried to distract myself by taking a trip from Mitchell, where I'm working, to see the Black Hills.

My trusty steed for the trip...

After arriving in Rapid City, my first stop was Mt Rushmore:

View from the road on the way in


And closer...

And finally, a view from the visitors plaza (about as close as one is allowed to get)

This profile view of Washington is seen on the drive out

I also stopped by Crazy Horse Mountain:
This is a more ambitious project than Mt. Rushmore, and it's being done entirely on private funds (donations & whatnot). The silhouette in the foreground is the model towards which the mountain in the background is being shaped.

The sculpture is said to catch Crazy Horse as he answers a scornful question put to him by a white man after his defeat: "Where are your lands now, Indian?" Pointing to the Black Hills so sacred to the Indians, Crazy Horse answers, "There, where my people lie buried."

In the late 1940s, an Indian chief & some warriors who had fought at Little Big Horn ("Custer's Las Stand") came together to ask a Korczak Ziolkowski, a sculptor of Polish descent, to create this project for the Indians "to show the White Man that the Indians also have heroes". The scale is immense -- Mt Rushmore's four presidential busts would fit easily into Crazy Horse's head and flowing hair.

On to Custer State Park:
Oh, give me a home...

... where the buffalo roam,

Where the deer ...
... and the antelope play

And then on to Deadwood:
For what it's worth, I didn't hear a discouraging word here. But what would you expect? After all, this place was a ghost town (or nearly so) until the casinos revived, repaired, and refurbished it. Every building on this street now houses a casino &/or a bar (save for a couple of kitchy souvenir shops). Discouraging words are probably bad for business.

Then again, Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back while playing cards in this particular bar. I suppose he'd have found that pretty discouraging if he hadn't died of the wound.

Next day, I drove home in a blizzard (Hey, I'm from California. If I see snowfall and feel a breeze, it's a blizzard!) via the town of Wall

(famous for Wall Drug Store)

... and Badlands National Park,

... where I made the acquaintance of these big-horn sheep,

... and attempted an art-photo of this tree.
(I've been using the camera in my mobile phone, so I can blame
the poorer quality on that this time!)


Ginger said...

Hey, great photos! It was cool to see Rushmore and the badlands at this time of year. I must say, your phone cam does quite well. You didn't get a photo of the kitschy stuff like deer butts and the dinosaur at Wall Drug? Ah well. Are you safely back in Mitchell, or do you have today off?

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