Earth Day and the Health of Nature

Columbus day 2019 vacation old barn

This barn has been nearly lost to time and swallowed up by nature.

Give Mother Nature the chance and she will reclaim what is hers. We are seeing it time and again, the world over right now as people are sent home, pollution is slowed and progress stalled.

I read a story last week about sea turtles – 70,000 of them – seen nesting along the beach in eastern India. It’s one of the largest nesting places for this particular species of sea turtle but they didn’t nest here last year. COVID 19 is credited with emptying the beaches and allowing these creatures to nest peacefully and without human interference.

The Canals in Venice are so crystal clear you can actually see fish in them and deer are wandering through city streets in Japan. Bears are thriving in our national parks because we are not there to interfere with their well being.

While we all excitedly click on these stories and share them on social media, I’m sure most people are not prepared to adjust and accommodate the natural world. The canals will again be polluted and wildlife will recede when people resume normal life.

But it doesn’t hurt to dream of what the world might look like if we were more inclined to acknowledge that these creatures have as much right to be here as we have and that clean water and air are in everyone’s best interest.

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. Enjoy this day, friends.

Mt. Rushmore

Mt rushmore presidents.jpg

There are certain landmarks in this country that everyone should see at least once. One of those is Mt. Rushmore, a destination of my western adventure.

Mt. Rushmore is an easy drive from Rapid City, South Dakota where we stayed. There are several fun and interesting things to do in Rapid City and the vicinity including Mt. Rushmore, Badlands National Park and the Crazy Horse Memorial to name a few.

Mt. Rushmore is sort of a mess right now as a portion of the property has been torn up and is behind a chain link construction fence. You can only admire this magnificent monument from afar.

Mt rushmore constructionHonestly, it’s a bit smaller than I expected but impressive nonetheless. It’s incredible when you consider what can be accomplished with dynamite, jackhammers and chisels.

It took fourteen years for a few hundred miners, sculptors and rock climbers to create this granite masterpiece that features Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,  Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Mt rushmore ice creamPortions of the monument can be seen from the road below but it’s worth the $10 parking fee to get out of the car and look around. There’s a great visitors’ center with a gift shop and ice cream shop where you can taste Thomas Jefferson’s ice cream recipe.

So many of the employees are clearly immigrants and it’s great fun to hear all the accents working at and visiting this monument to some of our nation’s great presidents. For this country girl from Appalachian Ohio, the exposure to different languages, accents and people of nationalities across the world is a treat.

If you go, know that your National Parks Pass will not help you here as that pass only covers park admissions. Mt. Rushmore is free but there is a fee for parking not covered by the pass. Never heard of the National Parks Pass? My pal Johnna, who I was traveling with, has one (it’s actually called the America the Beautiful Pass) and it’s a great deal if you plan to make many park visits in a year. Click here to learn more.

Want to know more about visiting Mt. Rushmore? You’ll find everything you need at the National Parks website!