Day 2 of our 9 day challenge to conserve water and power in a beautiful national forest while boondocking.
This morning I got up and started making coffee. Tea kettle boiling water and then pouring through a filter holder with coffee. Drip - drip - drip for the next half hour. It is really good coffee even better than our regular coffee maker.
After waking Shawna with her morning coffee, she made me breakfast. I have been bringing her a cup of coffee in bed for most of our life together. It seemed only fair since I was the one making it. Since we started full time RVing, she has not had animals to check/feed/milk early so she can sleep in a little later.
We packed for our hike which included sandwiches for lunch. The hike takes us on 3 trails that get us to Mount Rushmore. The first trail starts right here at the lake.
From the bridge, we could see a turtle sunning itself.
The trails start in the Black Elk Wilderness which is part of the Black Hills National Forest. Near the end of the trail, we will be in the Mount Rushmore Monument property.
The first trail is Horsethief Trail. It joins the Centennial trail. That trail is over 100 miles long but we will only hike a small portion of that.
The total hike for us today was 10 miles, 688 feet of elevation change or 67 floors or 23,028 steps.
On the hike, we passed rock wall and spires that were very impressive. Some of the rocks gave the impression of just barely hanging on to the rest. In other areas, it looked like a giant's child had stacked the rocks up.
Many of the huge Ponderosa Pines have died of a boring beetle that has attacked the forest. Once the trees have died the forest begins to break them down. These mushrooms were foot across and stood 6 inches out from the trees.
The trail passed through several types of Terrain.
We passed several small but pretty waterfalls.
There were some very pretty yellow flowers along the trail.
We got to Mount Rushmore and the final trail, the Blackberry Trail.
At the end of the trail just before we crossed the road to Rushmore, we passed some hitching posts. On our return from visiting the memorial, they were in use by 6 horses waiting for their riders to return.
Our first view of the Presidents on the trail was of Washington and then Lincoln.
History lesson begins now:
Carving Mount Rushmore began in 1927 and was completed in 1941. There were 4000 workers. The cost was just under $1 million. Charles Rushmore was the namesake but Gutzon Borglum was the actual sculptor. Borglum sculpted the Confederate memorial on Stone Mountain before beginning Rushmore and the quality of that work was instrumental in him being selected. The main tool was dynamite and jack hammers. The presidents were chosen for four categories influencing the country, Washington for its birth, Jefferson for its expansion, Roosevelt for development (and the national parks), and Lincoln for preservation of the Union.
Some facts about the size of the carvings:
Each face is 60 feet tall. Each eye is 11 feet wide. Washington nose is 21 feet long all the others are 20 feet long. Washington's mouth is 18 feet wide. Approximately 450,000 tons of rock was removed to make the carving. Just building a new visitor center and viewing amphitheater cost over $56 million in the 1990s.
End History Lesson
We ended the day by returning home and finding our solar panel had almost completely charged up both our batteries during the day. Even without me moving them every 15 minutes. Yes I have become a bit obsessive about moving the panel to gather as much power as possible. It has become a bit of an obsession. I try to not let it bother Shawna. Actually she finds it humorous that I keep jumping up and moving it every time I notice that the panel is not in the “perfect” position.
Tonight after using some power and to get some more charge on them I moved the panel several times to get the best position. The sun started playing peek-a-boo behind clouds. Sometimes as soon as I had it in just the right location the sun would disappear behind a cloud or move so a tree was shading the panel. We were pretty close to the end of the day so I put up the panel for the night. Of course right then, the sun came out bright teasing me. “Fine, I said to Shawna (and the Sun), if it is going to be that way I will be using fossil fuels. I cranked up the generator. She thought that was hilarious.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...