Monday, September 2, 2013

Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

Carhenge is a replica of England's Stonehenge located near the city of Alliance, Nebraska on the High Plains. Instead of being built with large standing stones, as is the case with the original Stonehenge, Carhenge is formed from vintage American automobiles, all covered with gray spray paint. Built by Jim Reinders, it was dedicated at the June 1987 summer solstice. In 2006, a visitor center was constructed to serve the site.

Carhenge was conceived in 1987 by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father. While living in England, he studied the structure of Stonehenge, which helped him to copy the structure's shape, proportions, and size. Other automobile sculptures were subsequently added to the location of Carhenge, which is now known as the Car Art Reserve.Carhenge was listed for sale in 2011 for $300,000

A dinosuar made from various car parts...

A bit of graffiti on a few of the cars...

The Carhenge visitor center...

Benches also made from car parts.

Custer State Park, Black Hills, South Dakota

Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The area originally started out as sixteen sections, but was later changed into one block of land because of the challenges of the terrain. The park began to grow rapidly in the 1920s and gained new land. During the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps built miles of roads, laid out parks and campgrounds, and built three dams that set up a future of water recreation at the park. In 1964 an additional 22,900 acres (93 km2) were added to the park. (Ref: Wikipedia)

The park covers an area of over 71,000 acres (287 km2) of hilly terrain and is home to many wild animals. The park is home to a famous herd of 1500 free roaming bison. Elk, mule deer, white tailed deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mountain lions, and feral burros also inhabit the park. The park is famous for its scenery, its scenic drives (Needles Highway and the wildlife loop), with views of the bison herd and prairie dog towns. This park is easily accessible by road from Rapid City. Other nearby attractions are Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Badlands National Park. (Ref: Wikipedia)

The popularity of the park grew in 1927, when U.S. President Calvin Coolidge made it his "summer White House" and announced from the Black Hills that he would not seek a second full term in office in the election of 1928. (Ref: Wikipedia)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is the sculpted faces of 4 United States Presidents: George Washington (1732-1799), Thomas Jefferson (1742-1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), and last but not least Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). "The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt." ~ Gutzon Borglum, sculptor. George Washington represents the founding of the United States. Thomas Jefferson represents the expansion of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. Theodore Roosevelt represents the preservation of United States because of his push to form National Parks. Abraham Lincoln represents the unification of United States because of his role in the American Civil War. [Ref: Wikipedia, National Park Service]

A walkway with all the states' flags leading to the amphitheater...

The Mount Rushmore amphitheater.

A silhouette of Mount Rushmore.

A ceremony of recognition for veterans and armed forces service personnel.

Mount Rushmore at night.

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Wind Cave National Park is a United States national park 10 miles (16 km) north of the town of Hot Springs in western South Dakota. Established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was the seventh U.S. National Park and the first cave to be designated a national park anywhere in the world.

 The cave is also considered a three-dimensional maze cave, recognized as the densest (most passage volume per cubic mile) cave system in the world. The cave is currently the sixth-longest in the world with 140.47 miles (226.06 km) of explored cave passageways, with an average of four new miles of cave being discovered each year.

A short demonstration on why the Wind Cave was given it's name. Because of the high pressure inside the cave and the low pressure outside the cave, the air flows out.

 The cave is notable for its displays of the calcite formation known as "box work". Approximately 95 percent of the world's discovered box work formations are found in Wind Cave.

Wind Cave is also known for its "frost work".

 Above ground, the park includes the largest remaining natural mixed-grass prairie in the United States.

Click here to check Plants and Animals observed in Wind Cave National Park

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower is an igneous intrusion or laccolith in the Black Hills near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 5,114 feet (1,559 m) above sea level.

Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Monument's boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres (545 ha).

The site is considered Sacred to the Lakota and other tribes that have a connection to the area.

Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to explore and define our place in the natural and cultural world. In recent years, about 1% of the Monument's 400,000 annual visitors climb Devils Tower, mostly using traditional climbing technique.

Click here to check Plants and Animals observed around Devil's Tower
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