South Dakota, Camping Style, Part 4: Crazy Horse

2 Aug

Tuesday was the day we had planned our big hike up to the top of Harney Peak, but the 6-year-old came down with flu Monday afternoon, so we postponed the hike for Wednesday and instead we went to see Crazy Horse.  It was very hot, so I was glad we weren’t hiking.


The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain carving like Mt. Rushmore and was begun about the time Rushmore was being finished up.  (Actually, the artist who planned the sculpture for Rushmore –Gutzon Borglum–planned for the presidents to be carved down to their waists, but the government cut off funding and stopped the project in 1941.


Crazy Horse began because several Lakota Chiefs went to Korczak Ziolkowski and asked him to create a monument in their Sacred Black Hills.  After he began the project, the government offered several times to fund it, but Ziolkowski refused because he believed first that it should be a endeavor by people and second that the government would not finish the project.

“My lands are where my dead lie buried.”


Ben took this photo 2 years ago when he was in South Dakota for AT



 It is a much bigger carving than Mt. Rushmore, in fact, all of the Rushmore carving would fit in Crazy Horse’s head.


I was so inspired by the history behind the monument, and the video we watch of Korczak speaking about his work moved me to tears.  He said, ” “When the legends die, the dreams end; when the dreams end, there is no more greatness.”


Here is a good article about the mountain.




Beneath the mountain is also a museum of Native American artifacts.  We spent a good long time seeing everything.  Maybe too long, because when we finally returned to the car, we were all tired and hungry and cranky.  We had lunch (PB&J) and moved to our new campground.  This one was right by the highway, so we were disappointed at first, but then we discovered the beautiful shower house across the street.  Ah to be clean is so good!  

Also, despite being right next to the highway, we saw more wildlife here than anywhere else.  Squirrels kept scolding us from the trees and there were minnows in the little stream running by.  Yellow Jackets kept flying around our table and I became convinced that their nest was in the metal tubing.  Ben and a nice old park worker stuffed paper towels in the ends of the tubing and we had much fewer yellow jackets after that, although Cherry Pie did get stung. 

This guy quietly passed by our picnic table as we were eating lunch Wednesday.

After lunch, we took the kids swimming at Sylvan Lake which was much cleaner and prettier than Sheridan Lake.  It was also very much crowded and the water was cold! 

For dinner I warmed roast beef and browned bell peppers & onions and we had hot roast beef sandwiches and watermellon.  When the roast beef ran out, I toasted the remaining bread & cheese.  Another fast and tasty meal that everyone loved. 

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