Thursday, August 28, 2014

sweet south dakota: day 2

{We spent a long weekend in South Dakota at my family reunion - you can read about all we did on our first day (including Mt. Rushmore) here!}

On our second day, the family split into several different groups depending on what we wanted to do for the day.  Our group decided to hike Harney Peak, the tallest mountain in South Dakota.  It was a hot, sunny day - perfect for a hike!

We didn't climb all the way to the peak - 2 hours was enough for us - but we still managed to catch some incredible views. 
On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at Sylvan Lake.  If this gorgeous spot looks familiar, it's most likely because you are a National Treasure fan.  This is the lake that the crew discovers behind Mount Rushmore in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.  Except it's not actually behind Mount Rushmore in real life - instead, it's about 5 miles away.  It is still stunning, nonetheless, and it was all I could do to keep myself from diving in headfirst, fully-clothed.  Note to self: next time, bring a swimsuit!


Our next stop was to the Crazy Horse Monument.  Once this monument is complete, it will be the tallest monument in America.  Too bad they have a looooong way to go still...

While it's always neat to see a piece of history in the making, I wouldn't necessarily recommend Crazy Horse to anyone visiting SD - at least not for the next fifty years or so.  I'm sure once they get more of it done, it will be worth your while, but until then, there are plenty of other, more impressive sights to see (and save yourself $20).

An interesting fact about Crazy Horse - the artist's vision was for Chief Crazy Horse, mounted on his steed, to be pointing with his index finger while answering the question, "Where do your lands lie now?" with, "My lands are where my people lie buried."  Apparently, however, pointing with your index finger is considered to be obscene in the Native American culture.  In real life, if Crazy Horse were to point in response to the question, he would do so either with his thumb or with his entire hand, palm facing upward.  There has been a petition to compel the artist's family to Crazy Horse's hand/arm so that it would no longer be offensive, but as of now no change has been agreed upon.  Very interesting, but also (I think) very sad for the Lakota tribe, who originally commissioned the monument.

After returning to the lodge, the entire Longwood clan met up for a family dinner at our lodge.  I love this whole crew!

It was the perfect way to wrap up another terrific, beautiful day in SD.  Stay tuned for Day 3 - and an unexpected Day 4! - next week!

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