Monday, September 1

Granite immortality

Garry has finally seen Mount Rushmore. It was wonderful to be able to share with him a special moment I'd enjoyed more than six years ago. However, we weren't alone. The memorial site was packed this morning with visitors and their endless summer convoy of RV camper vans.

After spending a couple of hour viewing the granite presidents from every angle, we escaped the RV onslaught by taking a scenic detour along Iron Mountain road. This is a narrow, winding road that makes its way up the face of neighbouring mountains. Its route was carefully surveyed in the 1930s to provide travelers with stunning (albeit distant) views of Mount Rushmore.
 
The road is an impressive piece of engineering. The route include three unnervingly narrow tunnels blasted through solid granite and two "pigtail" bridges which lap around and over the road you've just traversed. However, nothing is left to chance.  For example, each tunnel is carved on an alignment that ensures Mount Rushmore is always framed perfectly as you exit its confines.

We then turned onto the Needles Highway which gradually winds its way towards a series of towering granite pinnacles before finally passing through another series of equally stunning tunnels.  One of these tunnel exits into a dramatic natural amphitheater surrounded by a ring of soaring granite fingers. It's truly breath-taking.

More photos and statistics to come shortly.

Posted from my iPhone.

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