Mount Rushmore could only be a “postcards” post. Despite the face-numbing temperatures we encountered in the Badlands, it was even colder at our next stop. We couldn’t be outside for longer than a few seconds without the icy air clawing through every layer we had on. Basically, brrrr. I had to take off my gloves to snap photos, so I got about four before I gave up on that completely.
Arctic conditions aside, the fellas still made a pretty impressive sight when we first set eyes on them.
You walk through the Avenue of Flags on your way to the best view, past 56 flags representing every U.S. state and a few odds & ends (territories, districts, etc.). I didn’t know any of this at the time because I was much too cold to stop and read any informational plaques, but I’ve since looked it up for you. No problem.
The flags, very pleasingly, are in alphabetical order!
Though we didn’t learn nearly as much as we would have liked due to our inability to stay outside, we did glean a select few nuggets of information. Most importantly, that the creator of Mount Rushmore was the very talented and unfortunately named Gutzon Borglum. There was a bust of him, and I tried to take a nice photo of it, but it’s all blurry from shivering.
One of the mechanics who worked on Kokapelli had got to chatting with us about our plans for the next few days (we were there for a long time… we made friends). He’d told us that we would be surprised at how small Mount Rushmore seemed in person, but I didn’t really feel that way.
We had the place completely to ourselves, the snow muffled every sound into silence, and there was a spectacular sunset blooming behind the cliff. It cut a pretty grand figure, in my opinion.
Even having seen photos and renderings of this iconic cliff sculpture hundreds of times, Teddy Roosevelt peeking out from between his pals’ shoulders was wildly amusing to us at this moment. Maybe it was the stress of the previous few days, or the literal brain freeze. Either way, it was funny.
“Hey you guys, let me see!”
Maybe one day somebody will give the poor guy a boost.
The Details: $11 per vehicle if you use the parking garage; no fee to enter the memorial | Open year-round | Website HERE