Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 70 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours total. Walking about 1/2 mile indoors and out; groomed paths; standing up to 1 hour at a time in museums, some stairs.
At the lodge.
With our Group Leader, we’ll explore the United States’ Shrine of Democracy – Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum, the creator of Mount Rushmore, wrote: “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” Borglum intended his monumental sculpture to be not only a memorial to four of our greatest Presidents, but a Shrine to Democracy. Why these four? Washington led the nascent United States to win independence from Great Britain. Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence. Roosevelt the “trust buster” ensured the rights of working people and was instrumental in building the Panama Canal. Lincoln led the country through the Civil War. Borglum began work in 1927 and continued until his death in 1941, when his son, Lincoln Borglum, took it on and ended work later that year. If you wish, feel free to expand your exploration of Mount Rushmore independently with an elective short walk on the Presidential Trail to Borglum’s studio. Interpretive signage along the way will illuminate more about the monument, its construction, and the artist whose vision produced one of America’s most iconic symbols. Next, we’ll venture into Rapid City via motorcoach for some independent exploration. Chosen as the “Most Patriotic City” by USA Today readers, where we’ll be greeted by the “City of Presidents” — a 20-square-block section of historic downtown with life-size bronze statues of all of the past presidents along streets and sidewalks. It was begun in 2000 to honor the legacy of the American presidency. The Group Leader will hand out an interpretive walking brochure of the statues for our self-directed exploration.
This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like in down town Rapid City. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Next, we will regroup and ride to the Journey Museum. With our Group Leader and museum docents, we’ll learn about the Black Hills and surrounding area through the museum’s four major collections that provide a metaphorical journey into the past. The Journey Museum brings into focus a cogent story of billions of years of eruption, exploration, evolution, conflict and change. A tectonic shift deep inside the earth 2.5 billion years ago violently thrust the land now known as the Black Hills into being. One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, they have been worn down by the ravages of time from a height that was greater than the Matterhorn, thereby exposing the fine granite suitable now for mountain carving. Once on the edge of a great inland sea, this part of what is now the Great Plains was home to ancient dinosaurs. The Journey helps bring them back to relevance as we understand their time in this place. Prehistoric people came here when ice still held sway over most of North America and it would be another 10,000 years before the arrival of current Native Americans. The Journey helps us understand their life before the arrival of the white man. As we continue through The Journey, we’ll begin to comprehend their changing world with the arrival of gold seekers and settlers who were intent on building a future in Dakota Territory. We’ll return to the lodge after our field trip.
At the lodge.
A local expert will join us to share captivating stories and historic accounts of the local culture, peoples, and traditions.