Day 40

Monday, July 4, 2005Sylvan Lake, CSP, SD
Miles: 4632O'er the land of the free!
Being very tired, we decided not to set an alarm. We had gotten dehydrated in the Badlands and felt very dreadful. So we slept in. By the time we woke up, the Sylvan Lake recreational area had filled up, and worse, the store was out of eggs. There was a nice trail between the store and the campground though, so it was still nice to walk, even if we went omeletteless.

Ceridwen still didn’t feel up for much, and having felt very tired for the past few days, we decided that it would be best for her health if we took it easy. We took a hike around the Lake, which was very pretty. The lake is clear and cold and surrounded by Ponderosa Pines and big granite walls.

After our hike we decided to finish the Needles Highway drive. Our campground is located partially up the drive and the previous night we had done the rest, but in the dark. While it had been cool to see monumental columns of granite appearing in the circles of our headlights and disappearing up into the darkness, we thought we should check the whole thing out in the daytime. Of course, it was a beautiful day, and a holiday, and the highway is best known for its narrow tunnels and steep, winding nature, but what the hell.

The scenery was great, and once we got past the Needle’s Eye, a rock formation that looks like, well, the eye of a needle, the crowds thinned out. We watched a tour bus pass through a tunnel with only a few scrapes and scratches and helped direct some lost tourists. We meandered our way along the road, stopping at most of the scenic outlooks and made our way to Mt. Rushmore.

Mt. Rushmore. Yeah. That was silly. Neither of us expected to really like it, though we sort of thought we’d change our minds when we got there. No such luck. There’s no point to the whole thing and it’s just plain cheesy. It’s also rather tacky. We’re rather prejudiced towards naturally occurring wonders. Crazy Horse was cooler because it’s being carved in the round. The whole mountain will become a much larger statue than Mt. Rushmore is. It’s also a response to some people breaking a treaty and then putting up a monument to the men that helped drive other people off of their land. All in all, we thought Mt. Rushmore was not worth the money, though the Black Hills are certainly worth the trip.

After Mt. Rushmore, we had dinner and then headed back to Crazy Horse for the laser show. They basically use the mountain as a big movie screen and tell the story of Crazy Horse with laser lights. Kind of silly too, but entertaining. The best part was watching them turn the mountain different colors with a whole bunch of lights. For reference, the whole under what will be Crazy Horse’s arm is the size of a ten story building. Yup, it’s huge.

We went back to the campsite and slept. Mmm… sleep.