Day 12 – Sight Seeing Around Custer 2

A quick trip north brought us to Hill City where we watched an 1880s steam engine train fill up with water and pull away from the station. This was all fascinating to watch. The train travels from Hill City to Keystone (and back, I suppose). And, guess what: Mary Ann has photos that I’ll add here later.

Next we went to Mount Rushmore, but we didn’t take the easy way. Oh, no, not us. We tripled the length of the distance to get there by taking this insanely narrow, winding road with several one lane tunnels and shear drops on either side of the road surface (how do they DO that?!). The road is known as Needles Highway and it actually has a Wikipedia entry on account of how crazy it is.

Here is some video of us passing through one of the one-lane tunnels:

We encountered a buffalo and a mule meandering down the road (no, not together), saw a couple of climbers nearing the top of one of the shorter granite spires, and enough hairpin turns to produce quite a perm. As we finally neared Mount Rushmore (maybe 5 miles away) we encountered another one lane tunnel through which we could see Mount Rushmore.

We did pass by a beautiful lake surrounded by rocks. This spot was so popular there were as many people stopping to take photos as there were sportsmen. We also saw something I’d never seen before: people getting into what looked like half inner tubes to fish. Check it out:

Because it was so late by the time we got to Mount Rushmore, we sprang for the $28 hamburger special, then enjoyed the lighting ceremony.

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