Fall Volksmarch — Crazy Horse Memorial
CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, S.D. — So many, yet so few.
Well over a million people visit the Crazy Horse Memorial every year — but fewer, and less than two percent have the opportunity to hike up the mountain. They did today — for the seventh annual fall Volksmarch.
The day started off chilly and with a layer of fog, but that did nothing to stop people from coming out to the memorial. The Crazy Horse Volksmarch is the most popular organized hike in the United States and the summer event has been going on for nearly 40-years. The bi-annual walk allows visitors to get an up-close view of Crazy Horse, in fact, it is the only time visitors can hike the entire mountain.
The normal admission fee was waived to hikers in lieu of three cans of food per person, or three dollars. Hikers could also purchase medals to commemorate their walk. The hike is 6.2 miles, and not for the faint of heart. There were four stopping points where hikers could recuperate and buy drinks and snacks before moving on the long and taxing hike.
Visitors of all ages were present. Some folks have participated several times and have seen the changes made over the years.
Sally Colhoff, has hiked the mountain 6-times and was accompanied by her husband. She says, “I brought my dad’s walking stick, and he passed away 3 years ago, so it’s really kind of cool that I’ve got to that to come up to the mountain with. I just really love being out here in the hills and everything, and seeing this beautiful monument.
In attendance was the grandson of sculptor Korczack Ziolkowski, Vaughn Ziolkowski. He works as a member of the mountain carving crew and offered a unique perspective of the mountain and the Volksmarch. He says”I love getting to be a part of something that is trying to right a social injustice, personally. I think that’s really important, because what was done to the Native American’s was really egregious. So, getting to be a part of something that’s aiming at giving back to them is really great. And then on a lighter side, I love getting to work outside and work with my hands too. So, it’s really a great fit for me,”
Ziolkowski also encourages the public to visit Crazy Horse and experience the Native American culture. He mentions the mountain carving, but also the university which hosts students every summer and the museum.