Devils Tower

The Devil went up to Wyoming, not down to Georgia…

Continuing on my trip in South Dakota, had some time to kill. Devils Tower is an hour+ from Deadwood, SD (love the 80mph speed limit!).  So it’s another landmark to visit while in the general vicinity.

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Drove out there and after getting off the interstate, the general landscape is just breathtaking – reminds me why I left the East Coast for good, I love it out West. We were on this road for about half an hour. I kept pulling over to take pictures of the tower and surroundings. Of course, I would be right at the base before I knew it. Pulled up to the entry gate and love having a National Park Pass – ‘free’ entry!

Wasn’t too busy as I got there around 5:30pm. And, since this was in the summer, the sun wasn’t setting for several hours. There is a footpath around the base of the tower and staring at it is breathtaking. Devils Tower is 867 feet tall. It stands 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River and is 5,112 feet above sea level (thanks for the state NPS!). I kept wondering if any pieces of rock might fall while taking the stroll.

Some little tidbits about this magnificent location:

  • The name Devils Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge, when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower”.
  • The movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind used Devils Tower during the shooting.
  • The magma which formed Devils Tower cooled and crystallized into a rock type known as phonolite porphyry. It is a light to dark-gray or greenish-gray igneous rock with conspicuous crystals of white feldspar.

And you can find more random stuff on Wikipedia (some of the above isn’t from there).

I have a cousin who is a rock climber and her husband is a hard core climber. I asked them about Devils Tower, and they have both climbed it. Dang! That thing is sheer vertical drop. I admire them and all climbers.

And more great pictures…

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An amazing sight to see if you’re in the SD/WY area. Note: Devils Towers is in the Eastern Edge of WY, it’s not in SD.

Badlands, SD

On my South Dakota roadtrip (this was to run a marathon in Deadwood), specifically took the road/route to drive through the Badlands in South Dakota.

Stopped at the very little (aka not really known) visitors center at the south end of the park. The view in this area is fascinating…just out there, the land goes into nowhere.

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Just thinking of how people might have navigated through this land to make their way across the country to settle. I completely, absolutely admire them! Based on that, a nice tidbit of info I found during research, according to us-parks.comTrappers and traders regularly traveled the 300 miles from Fort Pierre to Fort Laramie along a path which skirted the edge of what is now Badlands National Park.

In addition to the great Parks site, more little tidbits about the area can of course be found at the endless info site of Wikipedia. What would we do without it?

A video of some views

Badland

To me, though, pictures speak 1,000 words. Would love to check out some of the hiking trails there sometime.

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Mount Rushmore

During my road trip to South Dakota, of course I had to visit Mt. Rushmore. Hadn’t been there since I was about 4 so had to check it out in a time I could truly appreciate it.

Didn’t do an official tour but just checked it out on my own. They have a great museum where you can take in so much information on your own at the pace you’d like to absorb it. In some of the information in the museum, it was amazing to learn how Mt. Rushmore was built — the climbing that was done, how the workers hung from the rocks to make it happen, the blasting, and the time they spent.

Outside of the museum, they also have a path to walk around on to see Mt. Rushmore and the presidents from different angles. Unfortunately part of the footpath was closed so not all of it could be taken it. However, it was all absolutely amazing and I was so lucky because it was a clear, sunny day. Pictures barely do this justice.

 

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