We spent a couple hours just touring the museum and visiting the visitor's center, then we grabbed our lunch, and we all tried a piece of a buffalo burger (yes, even mostly vegetarian me tried it) with our packed lunches since they were selling them there. The consensus was it tasted like a cross between beef and pork. Interesting. Then it was time for a walk with the ranger. As she walked us along a path that goes closer to the monument, she explained that Mt. Rushmore was named for a New York lawyer, Charles Rushmore, who had been in the area and had hired a guide. The guide was a crusty old soul, and Rushmore was a bit annoying to the guide by peppering him with tons of questions ("What's the name of that tree? What is that animal called?"). When they came upon the rock that is now Mt. Rushmore he asked the guide what the name of that rock formation was. The guide, in exasperation, said, "From now on we're going to call it Rushmore" and the name stuck. :-) I thought that was pretty funny. After the ranger walk/talk we went to the sculptor studio where it has the model that the artist, Borglum, had created and used to measure everything as he was carving the actual monument on the rock. Another model they had in there was of the Hidden Hall of Records that actually exists behind the heads, and is not accessible to the public. In 1998, tablets with the story of our nation were sealed in a vault in the unfinished Hall of Records. Sixteen porcelain enamel panels containing the text from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, along with a biography of Borglum, and the story of the presidents, were sealed in a teakwood box, then placed in a titanium vault, and finally sealed shut under the weight of a 1,200 pound granite capstone inside the unfinished hall. I thought that was fascinating. Anyway, enough of the history lesson.
We came back to our campground and everyone except me fished for the next 4 hours! I, instead, spent some time finally uploading the other pictures from yesterday's blog, and then I washed the car. The kids had a blast fishing. They caught a lot, but we released them all back to the water because, even though the guy had told us we could fish there we didn't know if it was OK to keep them, plus most of them were too small anyway. We saw the guy later this evening and he said that we could definitely keep them, so the boys are planning on getting up at 6am tomorrow to fish before we leave.
After dinner we left and went back to the monument for the lighting ceremony. It was PACKED!! All the bleachers were completely full so it was standing room only. Our pictures didn't turn out so well because we were so far away, but I think Nicole got 1 pretty decent picture as they were starting to light it up (they do it slowly not all at once). So here are the pictures from the day. Enjoy!