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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mt. Coolidge and Another Tunnel!

(Continuing the recap of my late August/early September South Dakota trip.....)


After driving Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop, my parents and I headed towards the town of Custer to find some lunch.  But en route, a sign pointing towards Mt. Coolidge caught my eye. 


Mt. Coolidge Firetower

I'd never been to the top of this mountain (or if I had I didn't remember).  My dad, who was doing an excellent job as tour guide, offered to drive up there and check it out.  Of course my answer was a resounding yes.


View from the base

A short, winding forest service road took us to the base of Mt. Coolidge's fire tower, perched atop this 6,023 foot peak.


A nice observation deck

The firetower was a sturdy rock building constructed of local limestone.  From the multitude of nearby antennas and radio towers, it appeared this lookout was still very much in use. 


Looking down on the road

Steps led to a small viewing platform.  My parents and I climbed the short distance and gasped at the incredible panoramic views of the Black Hills.


Fantastic Black Hills panorama

Oh yeah, it was a clear day and we could see for many miles.  The "hills," green from an above-average summer of moisture, looked mighty fine from our lofty perch.


Loved the stonework

I admired the sturdy lookout tower.  Later research confirmed it had been built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corp.  I also learned this fire tower is still very much in use during the summer months.


A tunnel!

After lunch at a great hamburger place in Custer, dad drove home via the Iron Mountain Road, connecting Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore.  Another iconic Black Hills byway, this road featured tight turns, cute wooden bridges (nicknamed "pigtail bridges"), and strategically placed tunnels.  Ooh!  More tunnels!  Who doesn't love tunnels?


Pigtail bridge leads to this tunnel

This road was deliberately designed to be driven slowly.  And with such great scenery around every turn, who wouldn't want to take their time?  Some roads wound around such tight turns that you could see the road underneath as you crossed over.  One pigtail bridge led travelers right into a rocky tunnel.


Mt Rushmore framed in the tunnel entrance

But this was no ordinary tunnel.  Oh no - this one was special.  As you emerged from the opposite end, drivers were treated to a front-row view of Mt. Rushmore framed in the opening.  How many tunnels can claim this?






And of course I had to get a video.  Enjoy this trip through a Black Hills tunnel, South Dakota style!

(Ok, after this I promise no more tunnels.  Well.....until next year.)


Sharing with:  Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday.

28 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the tunnel. That last photo is great! :)

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  2. Ah - I'm a little claustrophobic. At least at the end of that tunnel, you get a great reward. Looks so green in those hills - a nice side trip!

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  3. Linda, the views are amazing and I love the tunnel and fire tower!

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  4. S that's where Mt Rushmore is. A grand shot.

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  5. Most fire towers are out in the boonies and we don't get to see them. You used this one well to show off the black Hills.

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  6. The views from the fire tower are magnificent and I loved the video through the tunnel in the mountain.

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  7. Hello Linda, the view from the firetower are just gorgeous. I love the last shot of Mt Rushmore framed with the tunnel entrance. Great series of images. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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  8. That is a really beautiful fire tower, but the tunnel is a little scary, only going one direction at a time! :-)

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  9. Great capture through the tunnel! Show us more!

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  10. You sure have seen some beautiful countryside!

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  11. Nice tour! The view coming out of the tunnel is quite amazing!

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  12. It's so exciting to find 'new' things around, even if you're not sure they are really new!

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  13. Custer State Park is one of my favorite South Dakota places. Was to the top of Mt. Coolidge last year, but your photos are better than mine. Nicely done.

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  14. The views are fantastic - you can see for miles! that was a fun trip through the tunnel and wonderful surprise too!
    Christineandhercamera.blogspot.com

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  15. I always get creeped out riding in tunnels - especially those that run under water. It seems to require tremendous faith to believe I'm not going to be pulverized when it collapses!
    Thanks for letting me do it virtually!
    Please drop by and share your photos at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/11/waiting-for-metro.html

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  16. Looks exciting and great scenery. North by Northwest is still one of my favourite old films so at least I'm familiar with Mt Rushmore. Being solid granite amazing to think the heads might still be there in almost mint condition long after humanity has either altered into something else or died out completely in 10,000 years time.

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  17. Another spot to add to my vacation list - Thanks Linda.

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  18. My husband and I took a log trip to South Dakota, Wyoming and parts of Montana about 5 years ago. We loved all the sights in all three states. The Black Hills are beautiful--we drove Needles Highway. We drobve through this tunnel. Did you see the Badlands? An amazing area.

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  19. Beautiful view from the tunnerl! And I love the brick tower. My kind of trip:)

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  20. Such narrow roads, but a cool tunnel

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  21. North Dakota is so on my bucket list. Lovely!

    http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2015/11/halloween-15.html

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  22. Wonderful views and such a great fire tower! Great post!

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  23. Wow...gorgeous! That looks like a lot of fun! Loved the little video, too!

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  24. Neat! I love the stone tower.

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  25. How fun. I love tunnels so that would be neat to go through that one and then see Mt. Rushmore shortly thereafter.

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