04 September 2010

A perfect week, part I: Black Hills

Mount Rushmore from Iron Mountain Road

This was the most wonderful week.

On Monday, Tartan Girl, Ralph and Shirley came into town to be part of the new building opening ceremonies on Wednesday. Ralph had asked only to see Mount Rushmore as part of the visit. The preparations for the grand opening of the new building (about which more tomorrow) were well enough in hand that I felt that I could--and friends and family thought I should--take the day to travel with the family through the heart of the Black Hills.

The early fall weather was perfect and the scenery was stunning. We don't have many chances to get together these days with the family, so this was a particularly precious day. Maybe we can do this again next year with all the siblings. 

Ralph gazing at George Washington's profile

Shirley playing dueling photographers. She always wins. At least I come by it honestly.

George Washington in profile. This was Ralph's favorite aesthetic moment of the whole trip.

Face-on view of Mount Rushmore. I could not convince the crew until they got here that this is only ~20 minutes from home for us.

The pigtail bridges on Iron Mountain Road, courtesy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. You drive on them and then under them in a close semi-spiral--an elegant design for a mountain road. Note: they are not kidding about the low clearance. Do not attempt to drive the whale-sized RV on this road. A lot of people do....

Tartan Girl checks her images on Iron Mountain Road.

Resting pronghorn family on the Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park. That one on the right of the tree is very young. Apparently lots of critters had a second litter this year.

Young sheep--in fact, a little bighorn--in Custer State Park. The irony was lost on no one in our group.

Part of the Custer State Park bison herd.

Posing pronghorn.

Shy, timid woodland creatures....part of the feral burro herd in Custer tries to shake us down for food. When their good looks and charm failed, they tried to eat the steering wheel.  

Another very young pronghorn.

Part II tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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