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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Devil has a Tower, you say????

Yup, that’s right, today we visited Devils Tower in SW Wyoming.  It was going to be another hot day (the temp is 94 as I write this) so we knew to get up and get going before it got too hot.

Good thing we did too!  When we got to the tower, about a 30 mile drive from the RV Park, it was already warming up.  There are several trails you can take to hike in the area.  We chose the 1.2 mile trail that actually goes around the base of the tower just outside the boulder field.

This is supposed to be the easies hike in the park but it was challenging enough.  First the trail goes up and down and starts out with a nice steep climb.  The good news is that it is a paved path which is really nice as it winds through parts of the boulder field, it is not an ankle-twisting worrisome walk over loose ground.

It took us over an hour to make the walk.  We had both our hiking sticks (collapsible poles) and our hiking bags with two water bottles each.  We saw many people on the path but very few were carrying water.  It is very easy to get dehydrated on the walk, especially in the hot sun.  The path did have many benches for resting and scenic picture taking spots along the way.

It took us over an hour to make the walk!  That’s primarily because of all the climbs and the great spots where we just had to stop and take pictures!


View from the road about 7 miles away.


A closer view, but still nowhere near the actual park.


A view of the small visitor center near the base of the tower.  Unfortunately, this is a very small center and does not have a movie as most others do.


Here is a great view of the tower with the sun behind it.  This is as we started our hike.  Later when we finished, the same view would be totally in the sun.


A view about 20% of the way along the path.


A close-up picture of the previous shot, this one focused in just above the boulder field.  You can see the cracks in the rock.  Water gets in the cracks and expands when it freezes and plant roots also go in the cracks and push on the rock.  Both of these forces eventually cause boulders to fall down into the “boulder field” at the base of the tower.


Here you can see the vertical columns that make up the tower.  The columns are thought to form as the magma cooled unevenly.



Here is a close-up of the columns from the previous picture.


As you drive up to the tower area, you pass several large fields that are invested with these little creatures.  There are literally hundreds of them in the fields.  I tried to do a quick segmented count to get an estimate but they kept going down into their holes and popping up somewhere else!


We went to lunch at a town called Aladdin.  The place was not the greatest.  (Carol may have more details on her blog).  All I can say is that I should have known better when Carol said the population used to be 18.  There has to be a reason!

Tomorrow we head to Piedmont, SD for a few days.

If you want to see my 2 minute movie on our visit to Devils Tower, you can see it in the panel below.


Russ Krecklow said...

Wow, thanks Dave...I thought all the "Devil" stuff was in Oregon here, especially along the coast. Thanks for sharing.

Donna K said...

That thing is HUGE. The climber looks like a tiny little thing. Loved the close-ups of the columns.

The Odd Essay said...

Believe it or not, The Devil's Tower was on my bucket list of things to see. We finally got there a few years ago (along with Custer's battlefield and a few other things in that area). We walked some of the trails but didn't stay in the area long. Happy to see that place again!