Black Hills Journals

Black Hills Blues

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A July 2004 trip to Black Hills by btwood2

·	The Good:  Typical Black Hills road scene Photo, Black Hills, South Dakota More Photos
Quote: South Dakota’s Black Hills have attracted people throughout time. Sacred Paha Sapa to the Lakota, tantalizing 1870’s gold seekers with the elusive promise of wealth, and more recently, providing inspiration in its sculptable mountains for two HUGE man-made monuments in granite, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

Black Hills Blues

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Overview

·	The Good:  Typical Black Hills road scene Photo, Black Hills, South Dakota
Quote:
Why the blues? And I’m not talking about the Black Hills Chevy Dealers’ Blues Festival in Deadwood that we just barely missed, although missing it gave me the blues. But before getting further into that, the Black Hills, so called because of thick ponderosa pine forests that darken them, formed millions of years ago in Precambrian upliftings of the earth’s crust. These slates, schists and granites form a central core; Harney Peak (highest mountain at 7,242 feet) and the Needles are composed of these. Sedimentary rock such as sandstone, limestone, and shale surrounding the core are home to many caves and caverns. In pioneer times, there is really no getting around that Paha Sapa w...Read More

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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Attraction

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Photo, Keystone, South Dakota
Quote:
We caught glimpses of the four Presidential faces as we wound our way up the mountain from Keystone. On arriving at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, we were surprised how crowded and busy this "Shrine of Democracy" was on a weekday, but then, what did we expect for mid-July, with over 3 million visitors compressed into the summer months? For the $8 entry fee, with some difficulty we found a space in one of the 4 parking garages. Climbing the steps up to the information center and bookstore, we soon found ourselves on the colorful Avenue of the Flags, displaying all 50 flags of the states, plus 6 additional flags belong to the territories, commonwealths, and D.C...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 22, 2004

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
13000 Highway 244
Keystone, South Dakota 57751
(605) 574-3171

Crazy Horse Memorial

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Attraction

Crazy Horse Memorial Photo, Black Hills, South Dakota
Quote:
"My lands are where my dead lie buried." So responded Tashunka Witco (Crazy Horse), when a white trader mockingly asked him, "Where are your lands now?" Tashunka Witco, elusive and mysterious, lived hard and died young. Not only was he an outstanding warrior, but also deeply spiritual and humble, and very human, falling in love with another man’s wife. After defeating Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Tashunka Witco was betrayed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, bayoneted to death under a flag of truce. "I do think they got one helluva raw deal." So said Korczak Ziolkowski about the Lakota Indians, after he was approached by Henry Standing Bear just before the onset of World War II. He asked ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 22, 2004

Crazy Horse Memorial
Highway 385, 4 miles north of Custer
Black Hills, South Dakota

Ramblings about Crazy Horse Memorial

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Story/Tip

·	Small scale model of big scale dream Photo, Black Hills, South Dakota
Quote:
Even before going to see Crazy Horse Memorial, I thought it was pretty cool that his "image" was being carved into the Black Hills, if for no other reason than to give some balance to the Rushmore Four. I was mildly surprised when I learned that the sculptor wasn’t Native American, much less Lakota. When we first entered the Memorial, looked at the face in the mountain, and walked around in the very impressive Indian Museum of North America, I was enthralled. But gradually, a sense of disquiet began to encroach on my positive feelings. A sense of something being wrong here, something not quite fitting, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Plenty of Nat...Read More

Enough Billboards Already!

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Story/Tip

·Scourge of the Black Hills Photo, Black Hills, South Dakota
Quote:
Doc from Ed Abbey’s "Monkey-wrench Gang" would have had a heyday in these billboard-infested hills. If you haven’t read the book, do. Doc is one of a group of eco-terrorists who starts out the story by torching a billboard. Don’t get me wrong; I am not in favor of this. I espouse the slower more legal way of dealing with the billboard problem, and wish "somebody" would make some more stringent codes to severely restrict this tacky form of advertising. I have nothing against advertising; my grandfather ran an advertising agency in Holland, but he limited his ads to appropriate places, such as newspapers. We were already visually plagued by billboards advertising "Rushmore Borglum Story" on ou...Read More

Scenic Drives, Hikes, Bikes, and Rides

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Story/Tip

·	Horseback riding in the Black Hills Photo, Black Hills, South Dakota
Quote:
Probably the best way to get a feeling for the real Paha Sapa is to attempt to escape civilization by taking to the trails. There are lots of trails that run through the hills. On one of our first drives into the hills, we spied the George S. Mickelson Trail next to Highway 385. This rails-to-trails project was started by a group of local residents in 1983 when the Burlington Northern pulled out. Named after Governor George Mickelson, a strong supporter of the trail, it was completed in Fall 1998. Accessible by 14 trailheads, its 109 miles traverse 7 towns, 4 tunnels, over 100 bridges, numerous old mines and historic structures, the ghost town of Mystic, and the old townsite of Redf...Read More