Sunday, September 11, 2016

It Was HARLEY a Vacation...Day 3

Monday, August 29 We packed up and headed around the bend from our motel to the Mammouth Site in Hot Springs. It was really amazing.
Apparently it was an ugly hill in Hot Springs and a developer decided to build condos on it because it was an eyesore. As his equipment began to dig he saw bones and stopped the digging and called in palentologists to see what they had found. It was mammoth bones so he gifted the land to be excavated and to date they have unearthed 122 tusks and many many bones. The dig is now enclosed in a climate controlled building because the bones are remains of animals that fell into a hot spring so in essence they were cooked and therefore brittle. Really amazing to see all the skeletons and pieces in place. They can't remove many because they are so fragile so they lay where they are found for the most part. 

It is still an active dig. Pretty amazing.

Also among the remains they excavated the remains of a short faced bear. Suffice it to say he was huge. If he stood on his hind legs his reach was about 14 -15 feet. 
After that we headed up the road toward Hill City. On the way we passed through Pringle, SD. Stopped to get a picture of the sign for Trey and Jayme since it's their last name. Not much there except a cult compound...for polygamists...on we went.
After that we stopped in Custer for lunch and to look around a bit. Later in the afternoon we headed up to Crazy Horse Memorial. The grand daughter of Korczak Ziolkowski, the man who began the memorial, attends our church and she works up at the memorial for her family in the summers. She had invited us up to get a personal tour of the mountain. It was amazing!! Everyone should go! Her family is still in charge. Her mom is joint CEO with her sister and her uncles and cousins are in charge of the sculpting. All of it is funded privately. It is an amazing museum and future college and med school for Native Americans. Alisha took us in a van up to the face. 
The four faces of Rushmore would fit on the upper part of the hair behind the face. 
Here we are ready to go to the top! That is Alisha, with us.
Blasting area...Hence the hard hats...
There are mountain goats that hang around with the workers and have been since 1948 when Ziolkowski began this work. Crazy Horse pets. 
I was standing right beside him on his extended arm. There are sensors all over him that read the movements of the mountain to help them know the best conditions for blasting. They are currently working on the finger. 
Looking from the face down toward the visitors center.
Standing on the forearm area looking back at the face.

Just such a special gift from Alisha and her family getting to go to the face.
There is supposed to be a feather on top of his head but when the sculpture was moved once (because it is just plaster and can't get wet) it hit the building and broke off. The finished mountain will have a created feather made from rocks that were blown off the mountain. There used to be a tree growing right where the feather will be but her uncles and cousins had to take it down and remove the roots because it was going to create issues with the head. As the sun was setting we headed in to Hill City for the night. We found a restaurant that only had 2 items on the menu but since it had a waiting list and came recommended from our motel owner the night before we thought we would try it. The Alpine. It was a good choice. Bacon wrapped filet, baked potato, Texas toast and a wedge of lettuce with ranch dressing. The other choice was pasta primavera. It cracked us up. But it was delicious. And day 3 was in the books.

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