Monday, May 18, 2015

Mount Rushmore in the Fog

South Dakota is packed with so many places to see.  When my sister and I left the airport at Rapid City our plans were to drive through the Black Hills, check out Mount Rushmore, and then head to Faith. (Linda had a research project in SD.  The first stop was Faith.  I was tagging along to keep her company and have some sister time.)  Mother Nature was not cooperating.  It was spitting rain and becoming foggy.

We were not going to let the fog and rain dampen our excitement for the day.  It was a short drive to Mount Rushmore. The fog made it difficult to see the road signs...but we did not get lost!  I figured that visiting Mount Rushmore in April we would not have to fight the crowds of tourists like I have had happen other times.  We paid our $11.00 for parking (The National Park Pass is not accepted for parking...not even a discount!) and carefully drove the narrow road to the parking area.  The fog was getting denser and denser.  I don't know why...but even when we almost missed the entrance to the parking garage because of the fog...we did not think that maybe...just maybe...George, Thomas, Abe and Teddy might not be visible.

The park ranger at the visitor center told us that visibility was not going to get better for the rest of the day.  I felt bad for Linda as she had never seen Mount Rushmore, but I felt worse for the family who came in after us.  The father limped up to the park son about the age of five was hanging on his leg and the other son about eight was using that animated voice asking where the carved presidents' heads were.  Younger son released his father's leg and began running in circles pretending to be a plane.  The mother...looking somewhat haggard was standing by the door staring into the foggy scene while their teenage daughter slumped against the wall heaving a sigh looking totally bored.

"I don't suppose there is any luck that the fog will lift, is there?"  The father was trying to be optimistic.  "We just drove six hours for Jeremy here to see the carvings in the mountains."  Little Jeremy was checking out a book shouting out facts about Mount Rushmore.  My heart almost broke knowing that he would not be seeing anything but photos unless they were able to come the next day. I also knew that we would not be able to see the progress that has been made in the Crazy Horse carving. When we left, the family was disappearing in the fog heading for platform to see the carvings. I took a quick picture of a model of Mount Rushmore, Linda bought some postcards...and we left.  Next stop: Deadwood.

This is our only picture of Mount Rushmore...the model in the visitor center.

Our drive to Deadwood was through the Black Hills...or from what we saw...foggy Black Hills.  It was still beautiful and as we came through them, the fog began to lift a bit.  We got to Deadwood in time for lunch.  Every time I have been to Deadwood has been in the summer and it is full of tourists...lots of tourists.  When we arrived, it could have been a ghost town. Here is a picture of the main street.  During the summer there would be no way I could have taken a picture standing in the middle of the street.  Of course, the rain probably kept other travelers inside, so it was the perfect time to take such a shot.

Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood had been a lively mining town.  This is where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered.  It is quite a tale that I have no time to tell.  Check it out at Wild Bill Hickok Biography.  He was murdered while playing a game of poker.  He always liked sitting with his back against a wall, but for some reason was sitting with his back to the door of the saloon.  A man, Jack McCall, walked in and shot Wild Bill in the back of the head.  The poker hand that Wild Bill was holding became known as the "Dead Man's Hand"...a pair of black eights and a pair of black aces.

Deadwood had more to offer than stories about Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.  Linda and I also lost five dollars each at the small casino in the Bullock Hotel. (I hear there is a ghost that lives there.)  We also stopped at the Chubby Chipmunk Chocolate store.

If you visit Deadwood, stop and buy some yummy chocolate there.  This piece had a thin layer of caramel inside wafer thin chocolate.  Linda has already figured out how to make it and so I hope I will see some of these at Christmas next year. :-)


After lunch at Mustang Sally's, we were back on the road, heading for Faith.  We left the Black Hills and found the terrain more prairie like.  We did pass a few interesting land formations.  This one was called Bear Butte.  Legend says that the Sioux Chief Crazy Horse was born here. 
Bear Butte

I will stop here.  The next post will be about Faith. SD.  I had never been there, but found it an interesting small town.


  1. Despite the fog, it sounds like you and Linda had an enjoyable trip. I, too, feel sorry for the father who drove that far with an excited son and a bored daughter. I have never been out west but would someday like to make a trip. There is so much of this country that I would like to see but haven't. I pretty much stay in my corner of the east.

  2. Sounds like a fun time, perfect for some bonding with your sister. That fog was unreal! I feel bad for the poor kid who didn't get to see Mt. Rushmore. What a bummer.

  3. It's always fun to get away, but the weather was not helping that first day. What a disappointment! I've been through Deadwood and can testify how crowded it is in the summer. You always have adventure wherever you go.