We are staying in
First on our list of activities was a visit to
We hadn't counted on the excellent audio tour, which takes over an hour and a half, if you listen to all the optional material, which, of course, we did. That's not counting the stop along the tour route at the
Much was made in the tour and museum of the meaning behind
Putting together the pieces from our visit to
Ironic, isn't it?
Although that story wasn't told as fully as we thought appropriate, there were many other stories that captivated us.
We were interested to learn that the sculptor who designed and supervised the creation of Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, had previously been hired by the Daughters of the Confederacy to do a twenty foot stone bust of General Lee on the side of Stone Mountain in
We've seen it. It's nice, but it's no
We timed our visit perfectly—it started to rain just as we left
This sort of drive normally causes me some anxiety, even the best of weather, but when the rain began pouring down so hard that our visibility was reduced to a few feet, and our windshield wipers even on their most flailing speed could not keep up, my cardiac palpitations hit warp speed.
Then the hail began.
When we got out of the car at the Visitor's
After we got the lowdown on the many places to hike around the park, and the many programs they offered, we decided to hike up a mountain on a "Lover's Leap" trail, then do a ranger-guided caravan drive around the park's
But, by about 7:30 p.m., it was raining pretty hard again, and when we stopped at a spot with wild burros who were tame enough to come up to your car windows begging for food, we told our ranger we were begging off the rest of the tour—the thought of slogging a mile round trip on a muddy trail, even to see the biggest tree in South Dakota, was just too much for us after our already very eventful day.
(We had a similar experience the next morning, when we were the only people who showed up for the 8:30 bird walk. The friendly and energetic naturalist took us on our own private nature walk. She was a botanist as well as a birder, so she was able to help us identify many of the wildflowers we had been admiring around the park, and she even told us how the native people used them for medicine, dyes and food. We had a wonderful time, and just as we got to our car, the rain began in earnest.)
On our way out of the park we passed a beautiful big log lodge that had a restaurant sign out front. We went inside and found that it was called the Blue Bell restaurant, because the man who built the lodge back in the early 1900s was a