If Doane Robinson would have gotten his way, our drive down the Needles Highway in South Dakota would have been "decorated" with giant stone carvings of Buffalo Bill Cody, George Armstrong Custer and Lewis and Clark.
I'm glad Robinson didn't win the battle with sculptor Gutzon Borglum. The natural beauty was stunning, just as God made it.
Doane was the superintendent of the South Dakota Historical Society in the 1920s. He was the impetus for bringing Borglum to the state to carve the faces of Western heroes into the rocky hills of South Dakota. It was travel and tourism before every state had a department for that.
Borglum had other ideas ... a little idea that eventually became Mount Rushmore.
Still, Borglum embarked on a site-searching trip to find rocks massive enough to support a giant sculpture. He examined the Needles, as Robinson suggested, but found the rock too brittle for carving and the spires disproportionate to the human form.
I kept thinking about the Mount Rushmore park ranger telling us about those "brittle" rocks as we drove through the tunnels carved into them, complete with signs warning "Watch for Falling Rock."
Ah, well ... living life is a risk.
Randy drove while we traversed the hairpin curves along the narrow roadway. (Thank you, Randy!) This flatlander tried to appreciate the scenery even though we seemed dangerously close to the edge at times. I was thankful we were visiting during the off-season and weren't dodging other sightseers as we negotiated the peaks and valleys of the drive down Highway 16A. (I told you last week I had the song "Autumn Leaves" stuck in my head. That soundtrack continued along with a new one, "The Long and Winding Road." Yes, that is just how my brain works.)
We saw our first glimpse of the Cathedral Spires formation through the beauty of fall foliage.
We stopped for a closer look down a walking path just off the highway. A "cathedral" does seem an appropriate place for appreciating the wonder of God's creation.
There were amazing sights around every corner.
It made us feel rather small in the scheme of things. We could see why it was called Needles Highway with the many points of this formation.
I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep.
The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore."