Places West

Once again, back out on the prairie. We now think of this as the upper prairie, after our visit to the lower prairie of the Badlands. I get up close and personal with a pronghorn antelope. These beautiful animals are the fastest land animals in all of North America.
The pronghorn, indulging in a bit of roadside browse. You will note that he is keeping a watchful eye on me. 
A couple of deer, back in the sparse woods, off to the side of the road. 
Off into the trees, looking for more browse. and possibly more privacy. 
I have been spotted, even though I was using a long lens to take this photo (500mm). Deer are pretty sharp eyed creatures. Note the tracking collar adorning this particular specimen.
A pretty scrawny deer, in this photo, showing definite signs of discomfort at my approach. These deer are pretty poor specimens compared to those of my native Wisconsin. This part of the country can be challenging to wildlife and humans alike. 
A view of the Black Hills. This marvelous place is like paradise on Earth. This is all the more remarkable, considering the rather barren and hard lands out of which the Black Hills rise. 
More of the Black Hills. These lands were considered sacred to the Indians, and a treaty with the U.S. government brought a guarantee that the lands would remain inviolate. The discovery of gold here, brought a legion of prospectors. The clash of these two cultures, and the breaking of the treaty, caused a generation of war and conflict. 
Another lovely lake. The Black Hills are liberally endowed with such scenes. The area is largely unspoiled, despite the considerable history of the place. 
A view of Mount Rushmore, one of the Black Hills. The Mount Rushmore monument can bee seen at the edge of the photo.
A view of the monument from the terrace outside of the visitor center. 
The classic picture postcard view of the Mount Rushmore monument. 
This work was begun in earnest, in 1927, though the place was set aside as a national monument in 1925. The sculpture was finished in 1941, and had as many as 400 workers contributing towards it's completion. These 16 years of work began in the era of the flapper and prohibition, and ended at the dawn of the Second World War. Though designed to commemorate the first 150 years of this nation, there were events of considerable historic interest taking place during it's construction.
A view of the face of the mountain, as Gutzon Borglum may have first envisioned it. It is almost as if other faces may be seen in the remaining natural spires of rock, making up the mountain. The sculptures themselves are 60 feet high, and stand at the top of the mountain. There are extensive facilities for the roughly two million yearly visitors. These include concessions and gift shops, as well as a viewing terrace, which is approached through the avenue of flags. There is also an outdoor band shell which hosts nightly concerts, and fireworks displays. 
Some of the trees of this heavily forested area, mark the foreground. An idea of the size of the monument may be gauged by considering the trees growing just beneath it. Those are full grown trees, made to look like bits of brush, and scrub. The entire area is a treasure trove of lakes, mountains and forest. Though the Mount Rushmore monument has no camping or lodging facilities, the surrounding Black Hills area abounds with them. 
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