Friday, August 31, 2012

Crazy big Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse Monument from afar. Photo by Debi Lander.
Big, bigger, biggest
Crazy Horse Memorial really knocked our socks off. You can't imagine the immensity until you take the bus ($4 well-spent) up to the base. All four presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore will fit in Crazy Horse's head.

As seen from the base. Photo by Debi Lander.
Scale model of the finished sculpture at the visitor center. Photo by Debi Lander.
The Lakota were quite hurt when the U. S. put its presidents on a mountain in land sacred to the Lakota people. The elders asked Korczak, the sculptor, to come to the Black Hills and work on a project for them. He was well aware that it could  never be finished in his lifetime or even his grand childrens' so he left detailed plans, measurements and drawings including painting the horse's ear and nostrils on the mountain. His wife, Ruth, and seven of his 10 children carry on the work today.

Outline superimposed over the mountain. Photo by Debi Lander. 
Surprisingly for such a massive project that accepts only private donations, there was none of the "Gimme, gimme" atmosphere at all. The Museum of the American Indian collection is well underway and on display. The film about the project is very good. Neither is there a hint of the schlocky. We were delighted to find it classy all the way.

Young Lakota dancer performs for visitors. Photo by Judy Wells.
Hot times in the Black Hills
BB- Brown Bison, our trusty steed. Photo by Judy Wells.
Before leaving Custer State Park we were going to take the buffalo safari, an off-road excursion in over-sized Jeeps, but the weather report changed our minds. South Dakota is breaking records with a heat-wave and the highest triple digits yet were expected, so we ditched the bison, loaded up BB - Brown Bison, our trusty vehicle (we hope) and headed for Mount Rushmore first thing in the morning.

Having done the Deadlands at 103 degrees, these Florida gals know better than to tour a mountain of granite in 106 degrees (schools were being dismissed at noon!).

Never manage to totally leave Florida behind. Coach Bobby Bowden autographed this Seminole football to Ruth, who has put it on display. Photo by Judy Wells.
We kept our cool and visited the presidents via the amazing Iron Highway, coming next..

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