North By Northwest
We toured the Black Hills today, and yes, they really are black rock. We were also followed all day by seven, count ‘em 1-2-3..7, busses filled with Asian tourists. Bless their little hearts, they just don’t have the same concept of personal space as Americans. They crowded us, surrounded us, stop and go walked in front of us, and are in all our pictures. At one point, late in the day, I had an odd sense of calm sweep over me. “The Asians are gone,” Tim noted. Ahhhhhh. So.
|Tim & Friends|
First stop was Crazy Horse. This is a mountain carving, half finished, of Chief Crazy Horse and his pony. The project is privately run by the Ziolkowski family. Back in 1947, four Indian tribes approached Korczak Ziolkowski, assistant sculptor for Mt. Rushmore. The tribes wanted their own monument in the Black Hills to commemorate the native peoples. Korczak accepted the mission, and started work all by himself in 1948, with no outside help. He married, had 10 children, and died in 1982, doing nothing else but work on Crazy Horse monument. The family is still trying to complete the project.
When it’s finished it will be many times larger than Mt. Rushmore. Just the face of Crazy Horse is bigger than all 4 heads in Rushmore. Frankly, I think it’s going to take another 3 generations of Ziolkowski’s to complete this carving. Korczak’s vision was undoubtedly ambitious. He once said, “When dreams die, there is no more greatness.”
|Crazy Horse To Date|
|Work to be done|
Mt. Rushmore, on the other hand, was completed in 14 years primarily because it was federally funded. There is one sculptor still alive today, Nick Clifford, age 91. Tim met him at the gift shop autographing his book Mt. Rushmore Q&A.
Rushmore is a National Monument and entry is free, however parking will set you back $11. A stone plaza walkway with all 50 state flags leads you to a viewing deck. We had lunch at the park restaurant, hoping it would be as swanky as Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint found it in the Hitchcock movie, but alas it’s just another cafeteria run by Xantera Concessions.