Thursday, May 17, 2012

Greetings from Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone is having a fantastic time at their parks! South Dakota has been amazing so far and finally seeing the Memorial has been even better!
Upon arrival I was greeted with action right off the bat. My supervisor, Brad Eggers and myself heard news that another ranger had made an arrest at the on-site gift shop. The woman had stolen $1500 worth of memorabilia. I was able to witness the rangers bringing the woman into the station and deciding their next plan of action. Brad told me that arrests in the park happen about 20 to 25 times a year, so it was pretty exciting to see it so early on.
My first day at work was just as exciting! Two men from Game, Fish, and Parks were coming to the park to check on a Big Horn sheep that they were tracking. They believed that she was going to be giving birth and wanted to hike up to find and collar the lamb. Typically, Big Horn sheep do not frequent this part of the Black Hills however this specific sheep gave birth here last year. Her sudden movement back to this area is what tipped them off that she was giving birth again. Rob Webb, another ranger, and I accompanied them up a trail into the back country of the park. It was a beautiful hike filled with amazing views all the way to the peak of the mountain (located behind the Memorial). We were finally able to locate the mother sheep and her lamb. The mother sheep was spooked by our arrival and had bounded past us on the huge boulders. We were able to find the lamb and weigh and give him some immunization shots. The Game and Fish men also put a tracking collar on him so they could track his further movements and make sure he survived the next 6 to 8 hours. It was amazing to see this animal so close in the wild and was a great start to my summer!
Every year the Special Olympics Torch Run makes their appearance at the park, running from the park entrance down the hill to the local town of Keystone. This past Wednesday they made their way back to the park and I had the privilege to join them in their run! I was joined by another ranger, Dave Woodcock as well as two officers from South Dakota State Troopers. It was an extremely rewarding experience to run with two of the athletes and their large gang of supporters. The run was about 3 miles in length and ended with a group picture in Keystone.
The group shot in Keystone after we completed the run.

Sitting on top of Washington's head, the view of Jefferson and Lincoln.

A shot of the intended Hall of Records.

Later that day, I was asked to join Ranger Dave Woodcock in hiking up the side of the Memorial to check on a few of their security measures. The hike up was rather strenuous but very enjoyable, and once we reached the top we were rewarded with the incredible view! I was also able to see the location where the Hall of Records was supposed to be; an interesting view into the past. We then had to cross part of the rock to continue on our path; we were literally rock climbing next to or above the heads of the Memorial! We then made our way down into a location known as Indian Camp to continue down the mountain. The views I was able to see on this hike were absolutely breath taking.
The view from behind the heads.

Taking a break inside House Rock.
 On our hike back down the mountain, there is one location of a bunch of fallen rocks. You have to crawl through them in order to keep going;this location they call House Rock. Underneath it is as big as a house and would definitely be a great shelter if need be.

This park is full of wildlife and has some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. It gives you the sense that we are but a very small part in this world and should be grateful to have these types of sites preserved for many, many years to come.
I hope you all are enjoying your parks as much as I am! I look forward to seeing how everyone’s first week has gone!
ProRanger Erin Langeheine  

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! What a great opportunity... Enjoy!!!C&A