A few years ago, Jeff Tapp told me about Crazy Horse Memorial, a sanctuary in the Black Hills that was at the top of his list of places to see. The facility is home to the construction of the largest sculpture in the world. The sculpture itself is a tribute to the great Lakota leader Crazy Horse who is one the most widely revered Native American Heroes.
On a whim, this last Sunday, we packed up a few of our things and hopped in the car with one thing on our mind: The Black Hills. We drove over a thousand miles and finally reached the entrance to Crazy Horse Memorial to find that the entirety of the region was under a blanket of thick, unrelenting fog. The luck was not with us.
We didn't have it in our plans to stay another day as we needed to head to Wyoming that night and return back to Illinois via North Dakota the next day. We left the facility without getting a glimpse of the sacred mountain. As we drove slowly through the extremely dense fog toward Wyoming, we decided that we'd come too far to not see the memorial, and agreed to return to the Black Hills again after spending some time at Devil's Tower.
It was one of the best decisions we'd ever made. Not only were we able to see the incredible memorial, but we were also invited to take a ride up the mountain to see the face of Crazy Horse and view the incredible progress that started 68 years ago. The view from the top was not something that cannot conveyed with any number of words or images. The detail of the 87 foot tall head of Crazy Horse is remarkable, and the whole experience of Crazy Horse Memorial is unlike anything else, I can't recommend it enough.
I'll make a separate post about devils tower, but here's a sneak peak.
Our 26th President was truly a badass
Any person who in the second paragraph of their book writes "Once I killed a grizzly in this manner," and "All night I had lain in my buffalo-bag," deserves our utmost respect. (Presumably this buffalo's bag was borrowed, we don't know for sure.)
You might ask yourself: "How did the frail, asthmatic son of a wealthy New Yorker end up with this sort of cowboy lifestyle?"As it turns out, at the young age of 27, Theodore Roosevelt lost both his mother and his wife in a twelve hour period. In the same house! WTF!
This traumatic experience prompted Theo to say " Fuck it, I'm going West and I'm gonna get my ranch on in the Dakota Badlands." (he may have worded this differently.)
If you haven't already guessed which National Park the title is referring to, it's Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in the badlands of North Dakota, and it is a diamond in the rough.
When I arrived at the park, on a cool April afternoon the snow was coming down at a decent clip, peppering the roaming bison (pictured in the heading) and foliage alike.
I made a quick pass around the area before heading to the visitors center to pay my fee. When I entered I was pleased to find out it was one of the many free weekends hosted by the National Park Service due to the park services' 100th anniversary.
On one of the walls, a notice had been posted of newborn wild horses that were now present in the park, I peed a little with excitement at the thought of capturing images of tiny horses in a snowy landscape. I booked it out of the visitor center and began my journey to find itty bitty horses.
To Be continued!