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August 14, 2012 / mws

Mount Rushmore…yes or no?

In 2002 we took a whirlwind trip for 10 days thru Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Highlights were:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Devils Tower, Wyoming
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
  • Badlands National Park, South Dakota
  • Custer State Park, South Dakota
  • Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota
  • Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
  • Chimney Rock Historic Site, Nebraska
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Driving into the Mt Rushmore area

Since we are pro-nature, we had mixed thoughts about visiting Mt. Rushmore.  The idea of carving up a mountain seemed unnatural and unnecessary.  However, we decided since we were there, we should see it and decide for ourselves.

Mt. Rushmore was the first stop on a glorious fall day.  As we drove, the monument came into view above the golden aspens.  It was impressive even at that distance.

We arrived very early, even before a lot of the park staff.   It’s a great advantage to visit a historic site while there are no other visitors there. Entrance to Mt Rushmore There were flags lining the entrance and the sculpture rose majestically across the mountain.  While we toured the area, it clicked for me.  The four granite presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln were symbolic.  They were there to represent the United States struggle for independence, the notion of a representative government with freedom and equality for all, and the need for creative foresight to grow and prosper.   The mountain carving was a symbol of the spirit of our nation.

While trying to take it all in, we continued to absorb the atmosphere and take some photos.  One of the early morning Park rangers motioned to me to look up on the adjoining hills.  There, on the rocks were several mountain goats.

Now, here was nature at its best!   Mt Rushmore goatsThe animals were beautiful in the early morning light and it was amazing to watch them as we stood in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore.  It was only a few minutes until the goats moved on.  I often recall that moment when I came to understand a National symbol and delighted in seeing natural wildlife live in harmony with man’s symbolic mountain sculpture.

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