Paired with the quirky Americana of South Dakota is true natural beauty. Our family took in the visual treats of the state in the prairie as well as in Mount Rushmore and the Badlands.
The Badlands were such a different landscape. Eamon and Aine compared it to their view of the moon or Mars. The rocky formations were white and rugged. We hiked around one trail to get a better sense of the area. It was breathtaking. The kiddos continued their space exploration game, calling out to one another as if they were astronauts. We jumped from rock to rock finding our way along the trail. Dave took many photos trying to capture the beauty.
From the Badlands, we ventured toward Mount Rushmore. I had never been to this national memorial. I am glad we went. The black hills were a much different environment from the Badlands despite their close proximity. Eamon determined that the place was called the Black Hills due to the dark pines which covered the mountains. From our park ranger, we found out he was right! We participated in the tour of the memorial as well as the Junior Ranger program. The kiddos enjoyed hunting for the answers to the program questions. We talked about the artist, Gutzon Borglum, who created the original casts for the presidents. Dave and I were impressed to see the original design included more of the presidents' torsos, but the actual rock did not lend itself to such carvings. We also wondered about the people who executed the design swinging from bosun chairs high in the air. It is such an amazingly impressive stone carving, and we were all glad to have seen it.