Crazy Horse and other gentlemen

02092010


Despite wanting to make a beeline to Yellowstone, it seemed wrong to have driven all this way and not go and see Mt Rushmore. So we took a little bit of a detour and it made for a really lovely afternoon. We didn’t actually go into the sight ourselves. Its pretty expensive and you can see everything from the roadside anyway. And yep, it is a shockingly small as everyone says! However, if you keep driving through the mountains you will eventually come across a far more profound and elegant site. 

The Crazy Horse Memorial is located in the Black Hills. It was the brain child of Lakota elder Henry Standing Bear and created by polish sculptor Korczak Ziółkowski. It is the anti-Rushmore if you will, designed to represent one of the true heroes of the American mid-west. The whole thing has been created by blasting the mountain with controlled explosives and then carving by hand. Ziółkowski began the project in 1948 but sadly he died before it was even near completion. Will visited the memorial as a child and was always keen to return as an adult to see how much progress the family had made. There is still a long way to go and I am sure one day we will visit again with our children.
* I can’t believe how young Will looks here sans beard!
It was an incredibly inspiring afternoon in many ways. Firstly, being allowed to trade two cans of beans for the entry fee (as we were getting near broke at this point). Generosity like that doesn’t come round very often. Secondly, seeing the look on Will’s face as he revisited a place that had meant so much to him as a child and thirdly to learn about a family who really do embody a true sense of commitment to each other’s lifelong hopes and wishes.

After leaving the Black Hills we headed straight to Yellowstone, stopping in Cody overnight to drink $2 margaritas, eat the best waffles and check the weather forecast. Yellowstone had only reopened to the public that week and it was touch and go as to weather it would be too snowy to drive through. Thankfully we were giving the green light the following morning but it did make for some pretty hairy driving on approach!

Its probably now that I should explain the little bear which keeps popping up in our photographs from time to time. Bargain the bear has travelled all over the world with us. He is a lucky mascot if you will and if you are going to drive 10, 000km, a little bit of luck goes a very long way! 

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