Thursday, July 5, 2012

Devils Tower

(Black Hawk, SD) Hi 85 Lo 59 -- Today was our last day of sightseeing so we took a day trip to see Devils Tower. Devils Tower is basically a large rock sticking up out of the ground. Here's a quote from Wikipedia on how it formed:

Geologists agree that Devils Tower was formed by the intrusion of igneous material, but they cannot agree on how, exactly, that process took place. Geologists Carpenter and Russell studied Devils Tower in the late 19th century and came to the conclusion that the Tower was formed by an igneous intrusion. Later geologists searched for further explanations. Several geologists believe the molten rock comprising the Tower might not have surfaced; other researchers are convinced the tower is all that remains of what once was a large explosive volcano.

The tower is 1,267 feet above the surrounding terrain, and the summit is 5,112 feet above sea level. It was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. We remember it as the place the aliens landed in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. :)

The tower is located in northeast Wyoming, a 100-mile drive through beautiful scenery.

We started seeing the distinctive shape of the tower from about 15 miles away.

Here it is as we got closer.

Just before we reached the entrance to the Devils Tower National Monument we stopped for lunch.


There was a line of cars waiting to get in, but it moved right along. The admission price is $10 per car, but we got in free with our National Parks Golden Pass card.

Our first view of the tower from inside the park.

It was a 3-mile drive around the base of the tower to the visitors center.

There are two walking trails around the base of the tower. A 1.3 mile paved loop that hugs the base of the tower, and a 2.8 mile gravel loop that's farther out from the base that passes near the Belle Fourche river. There were a lot of people taking shorter trail and we joined the crowd. It was a hilly walk, and we were both getting a little winded on some of the uphills.

The views were spectacular!  There are rocks and boulders everywhere from columns on the tower that have broken off and tumbled down through history. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

It was neat to see the tower from all sides during our walk around the base of it.

The trail is very well maintained.

We thought this dead tree was interesting looking.

There are signs posted that if you want to climb on the boulders you have to register at the visitors center. Probably so they know who you are if you get hurt or worse.

The ranger told us that around 5,000 climbers climb to the top of the tower every year. We saw a few climbers starting their journey to the top.

The tower is sacred to the Lakota and other tribes of indians, and they have their holy ceremonies during the month of June when climbing is halted. The indians leave prayer cloths on the trees marking the sites of their ceremonies.
The view looking away from the tower is pretty awesome too!

Finally the parking lot at the visitors center came into view. We made it!

On the way out of the park we pulled over at a field where there were hundreds of prairie dogs. We stayed for awhile watching them chase each other and dive into their holes.

We stopped just outside the park gate at the Devils Tower Trading Post. I broke down and got another shot glass. I have a row of them along the top of our slide out frame in the RV (secured with velcro tape), and decided to add one more to my collection.

As we left the park we had to get one more shot.

On the way home we took a drive through Black Hawk. It's a very small town. While there we saw a doe and fawn.

It was so great to see Devils Tower. It's a spectacular sight and we're so glad we took the time to drive out to see it.

We’ve become friendly with our neighbors beside us who are from North Carolina. They leave tomorrow morning, but it’s been great sharing stories of our travels with them. Thank you Bob and Marsha for a great few days. Stay safe in your travels. I've added your blog to my favorites list.
2012-7-2 Marsha and Bob from NC

We came home in some rain, with some storms predicted for later tonight. It’s been a great week.


Jim and Sandie said...

I never see Devil's Tower without thinking of the movie, Close Encounters.

Gail Houle said...

Glad you drove up there to see it. I put it on our list for next time, when we head NW. Thanks for the tour.

GGuncle said...

your pic's of the "tower" brought back memories of the trip Ellen & i took in '07 with our motorcycles. thanks for all your pictures.dom

Mike McFall said...

We came here from Florida when we retired 17 years ago and haven't been able to leave......Volunteered in Custer State Park for 10 years, then retired and bought us a little land just so. of Custer....
We love the place, but we do go South to AZ in the winter......
Glad you are enjoying the hills!!

John and Carol said...

We did not get a chance to see Devil's Tower. Thanks for a great tour and photos.

John and Carol said...

We did not get a chance to see Devil's Tower. Thanks for a great tour and photos.

Phyllis said...

Sounds like you had another fine day.

See ya later today.

The Berry's RV Travels said...

Sounds like a day of great memories to tell the stories about to a bright eyed beginner like myself around a campfire. I have a thing about taking pic 's of dead trees with character myself.

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

I love the Indian legend of how 7 maidens were attacked by bears, and the ground rose up underneath them to raise them to safety in the heavens.... and the ridges on the sides of the tower were from the bear claws trying to reach them....

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard