The Mountains of America

Does anything scream America more than Mount Rushmore?

Ok, so I say that a lot. Everything out West screams America to me. The history. The beauty of the land. The Presidents’ faces carved in granite mountainsides. Ok, it’s also kind of weird too, right? We carved the faces of 4 Presidents into the side of a mountain.

But, that’s America.

And, that’s what makes us awesome.

We did the audio tour and I highly recommend it. Not only is the audio tour amazing in itself, but all of the money goes back into the National Monument. We learned that the typical gift shops are outsourced and none of the money goes back into the area, but the places called bookstores are a nonprofit that exists for the sole purpose of making improvements to Mount Rushmore National Monument. The friendly gentleman working the audio tour counter told us all this information including some of the improvements made to the facilities funded by audio tours and bookstores (the recent addition of the parking facility being one of them).

We learned all about Gutzon Borglum, the man responsible for the creation of Mount Rushmore. He took such pride in his work and wanted everything to be perfect, but his employees did too. They hiked up the mountain everyday off the clock to get to work for years until they were able to build a mechanism to get themselves up the mountain.

Did you know 90% of Mount Rushmore was carved using dynamite blasts? They would drill small holes, shove dynamite inside, and blast them. They were so precise with their blasts that most of the work was done by blasting rather than hand carving. The remaining 10% was carved.

Also, I started my National Park Passport here! First stamp, Mount Rushmore!

Where are my National Treasure fans at? The second movie was filmed in the area including the nearby town of Keystone. Remember the Hall of Records? It’s a real thing – just not quite as awesome as in the movie. The Hall of Records was Borglum’s idea and he wanted it to hold a history of our country including valuable documents and items. He died before all of this was finished and never saw that come to life, but they did make sure a version of the Hall of Records existed. It is housed to a few tokens of history. While not as big and impressive as Borglum dreamed it to be, it still exists and who knows, maybe we’re told this and it really holds a city of gold like in National Treasure II.

That beautiful view above – that would be the Presidents’ view. If you looked out from where they are carved, that’s what you would see.

Dad, just mean muggin’ as the 5th President (above).

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