Wednesday, May 14 was “back to work” day!! We were both excited to start our new adventure for the summer, and it will be nice to have money coming “in”, instead of always going “out”. The first day is just orientation, filling out tax forms (only Federal since South Dakota has no state income tax), along with going over the basic rules that you have with any job.
Dan’s mom always took a ‘first day of school’ photo, so I thought I should get a ‘first day of work’ photo to continue the tradition!
We watched an excellent film on the history of Crazy Horse in one of the 2 theatre’s in the Visitor’s Center of the Memorial. If you ever come to Crazy Horse, we highly recommend viewing the movie as the first thing to do in the complex. It goes over the history of the Memorial, and has interviews with the sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski (pronounced ‘jewel-cuf-ski’), who passed away in 1982, as well as his wife Ruth.
Then we took a tour of the many buildings in the complex, and then headed back to our meeting room for more orientation. We had an excellent complimentary lunch in the Laughing Waters Restaurant, followed by the highlight of the day, a van tour to the top of the monument.
I plan on a separate post about the history of Crazy Horse, as well as what is all available to see and do on-site. There simply is too much to cover in one post.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT THE MONUMENT
The first blast on the mountain was June 3, 1948, with 10 tons removed. When completed, the memorial will be 563 feet high, and 641 feet long in the round. The face of Crazy Horse is 87 feet, 6 inches. In perspective, the heads on Mt. Rushmore are 60 feet tall.
Korczak refused to take any money from the state and federal government. This policy remains in effect today, and the family has turned down several grants from the government. He did not want the memorial to remain unfinished, like Mt. Rushmore, after they accepted money from the government. The original plan for Mt. Rushmore were for more complete profiles, at a height of 285 feet. Another difference between the two, is Mt. Rushmore was carved on a mountain and Crazy Horse is blasting a mountain into a monument.
The memorial is supported entirely through admission fees, gift shop sales and private donations.
THE RIDE TO THE TOP
Our orientation group was able to take a van tour to the top of the memorial. For the general public, there are two ways you can get to the top. Twice a year, they have a Volksmarch, where the public is invited to walk to the top for a small donation of $3.00. It is 6.2 miles (10K) round trip. The other way to the top is with a private van tour, which costs $120.00, with $100.00 going as a tax-deductible donation to the non-profit foundation.
The roads are all crushed gravel, made from the rock blasted off the mountain. There is a ‘graveyard’ of old equipment, that they use for parts to repair current machinery.
There are deer and mountain goats that live up in the hills around the memorial. We saw some deer, along with this little critter. It is called a Marmot, which is similar to a woodchuck. The animals don’t seem to be bothered by the regular blasts.
They are working on the hand, and the nose of the horse. This view of the outline of the hand is not visible to the general public, as it is on the back side of the monument.
This picture is directly on top of the hand, and shows the red lines where they will be blasting out for the hand.
The face of Crazy Horse.
We had to wear hard hats, as they were working below.
This is an old shark tank which was donated to the memorial. When they are blasting on top, the workers will stay inside this to avoid getting struck by flying debris.
The view from the top….spectacular!
To put the size of the memorial in perspective, this is the view from our campground…
And this is the view of our campground from the top of Crazy Horse.
This is the view of the visitors complex.
The rock formation below is where Korczak is buried, as well as his daughter Ann, who passed away in 2011.
We did make time at the end of the day to stop back into the restaurant to sample Kuchen, the state dessert of South Dakota, as well as some Indian Flat Bread. Both were delicious.
Dan commented that it was the best 1st day orientation that he has been a part of!
Quote for the Day: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius