Road Trip Day 3 – Black Hills

The Black Hills are ridiculously pretty right now. I spent yesterday seeing the major sights.

The first place I went to was Deadwood, a gold mining town. I wasn’t excited by too much there. I’m not much of an Old West person. There is a pretty neat museum there, and there are reenactments of Wild Bill Hickok’s death in the same saloon where he died, but I didn’t go.

Wild Bill Hickok was killed here.

Deadwood still pays homage to its roots as a rough frontier town. No goldmining, but in order to fund historic preservation of the place gambling has been legalized again. Also mannequins of prostitutes appear along the historic main street.

Prostitute mannequins in windows.

I wasn’t much of an old west fan before this, and I’m not in danger of becoming one. It did make me want to play Oregon Trail again however.

Oregon Trail told me 6-8 oxen per wagon. These people ain’t gonna make it.

Next up was the Crazy Horse monument. For a variety of reasons it left me unimpressed. Partially because the museum has very little dedicated to Crazy Horse himself.

It is impressive though.

“Having the finished sculpture depict Crazy Horse pointing with his index finger has also been criticized. Native American cultures prohibit using the index finger to point at people or objects, as the people find it rude and taboo. Some spokesmen compare the effect to a sculpture of George Washington with an upraised middle finger.” – Wikipedia

Last was a trip through Custer State park and visiting Mount Rushmore. I ended up seeing quite a bit of wildlife up close. I had to stop for deer a few times, and caught a picture of mountain goats grazing by the side of the road.


And then there were the bison.

I happened to be in the park on the day the park rangers corral the bison and inoculate, count and whatever else they do to manage the herd. Another one of the visitors there said she’s used to cattle, and bison get a lot more angry than cows do.

Little bison grazing.

The bison holding contraption.

The drive I took up to Mount Rushmore is really pretty. There are a couple routes to get there but I went along what’s known as Iron Mountain Road. It starts west of Custer State Park and heads east, then approaches Mount Rushmore from the south. It’s a winding mountain road with switchbacks and pigtail bridges, and there are three short one lane tunnels, two of which frame Mount Rushmore as you pass through.

Mount Rushmore is impressive, but is sort of marred by being carved into mountains on land that Lakota Indians were supposed to be granted in perpetuity.

At the base of Mount Rushmore.

I couldn’t help but think of Shelley’s poem Ozymandias when I read this.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Links to Day 2 and Day 3 full sets.

Today, The Badlands.


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