A person can travel far and wide but to see sheer geographical beauty and awesome sites, it’s hard to beat the good ol’ USA. I’ve just returned from a week-long swing through parts of South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah–with a corner of Iowa thrown in–and I’m still gushing.
My husband and I signed on for Caravan’s bus tour called “Mount Rushmore, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone.” On the first day then, no surprise, I checked off Mount Rushmore, an item on my travel bucket list. The sculptured faces of Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln are absolutely magnificent, indeed, an engineering and artistic feat.
My husband, always the official trip photographer, took a ton of pictures during our visit to Mount Rushmore. But here’s one I snapped of our view as we ate a bison burger lunch there. I don’t think I’ve ever had such an extraordinary background for a meal.
After touring Mount Rushmore, our group stopped at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Once it’s completed, this sculpture will be a match for Mount Rushmore. Right now, all that’s discernible is the famous warrior’s face.
Get this: The memorial, a monument to the great Sioux Lakota Indian leader Crazy Horse–the one who wiped out Custer and his men at the battle of Little Big Horn–is the world’s largest sculpture in progress. The carving was started over 50 years ago by Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. He’s now deceased, but his children and grandchildren are carrying on the work.
Below is a model of what the completed monument will look like. As you can see, Crazy Horse is on a steed, his left arm outstretched, pointing. At what? Maybe the future, a sad one for Native Americans as they eventually surrendered a way of life they’d known for centuries.
Yellowstone National Park was another highlight of this trip. Old Faithful, the geyser that erupts approximately every 90 minutes, is probably the most recognized feature of this first national park, established in 1872.
But there are other fascinating elements as well. My husband and I had our picture taken at Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, location of Yellowstone Falls, which is twice the height of Niagara Falls. The scenery here is so perfect it almost looks like one of those cheesy backdrops sometimes used in photography studios, doesn’t it?
We saw beautiful mountains in South Dakota and Montana, but the third headliner of this trip, Wyoming’s Grand Tetons, was the most majestic. Oh my word. Snow-capped, jagged, soaring: adjectives fail me. I promise you the picture below is one I took; again it looks too pristine to be real.
The tour ended in Salt Lake City, where the main attraction was Temple Square, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormons. The temple there is lovely, but I was equally amazed by the beautiful grounds.
Flowers galore! The bed below is just one of many. I was especially jealous of the luscious petunias; mine at home died of thirst when I was away one weekend while temperatures soared to the 90s.
There’s so much natural beauty in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Even the view at the gas station was worth photographing!