Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 27 Devils Tower, Black Hills & Mt. Rushmore

Hulett, WY was another interesting little western town,
unfortunately none of these places were open when we left in the morning for...

For years I've had people tell me I look like Richard Dreyfus, so I had to go to Devils Tower to see if I'd have a "Close Encounter" and its on my Categories list for Absolute Location
The tower is the remnant of a volcanic plug.
We had a pleasant 1 mile walk through the Ponderosa pines around the base of the tower.
I was surprised how the tower was different from the various angles.
The basalt columns are not all vertical.

We saw 2 sets of climbers on the tower.

This guy was about 3/4 of the way up, my camera was at maximum zoom.

There was a large Prairie Dog Town about the size of 2 football fields at the base of the tower.

We spent quite a bit of time watching them scamper around and bark to each other.

Wanda was about 5 feet from this prairie dog and his hole right along the edge of the road.

As we left, we stopped at a souvenir place just outside the park.

This is also on the S D license plate.

Custer State Park in the Black Hills, SD is one of largest state parks in the country. We drove the scenic Needles Highway, Wildlife Loop and Iron Mt. Road.

The park is a interesting mixture of grey sandstone mountains
& pillars,
forests and
open prairie.

The Needles Highway has some of the tightest switchbacks I've driven. It was a relatively pleasant drive through the forests and there wasn't a 1,000' drop off the side of the mountain (but still guardrails).

There are 3 tunnels on Needles Highway & 3 on Iron Mt. Rd.

This was the tightest tunnel and hard to believe they can fit a charter bus through it.

Sylvan Lake

The Needles Eye

Some of the many Needles along the drive.

We drove the appropriately named Wildlife Loop and saw

this family of Mountain Goats

and this group of Pronghorn Antelope.

And this herd of wild burros
Iron Mt. Rd is famous for the 3 tunnels that face Mt. Rushmore and

The Pigtail Bridges corkscrew the road over and under itself.

We took some pictures of Mt. Rushmore from the road when we 1st got to the Black Hills on our way to Custer State Park.

Washington's Profile had a convenient pulloff

The Avenue of Flags leads up to the Monument from the parking lot. Luckily the sun was shining on the NC flag.

We arrived at Mt. Rushmore at dusk so the faces were in shadow.

The evening lighting program was excellent, a ranger talk, movie and patriotic music.

1 comment:

  1. Hey!!! WE're back on the air!!! I unplugged the modem's things and replugged them back on and we're okay!!! Clarise is all over me with her lovin' tonight. I brought Emalee (my 18 year old) and Clarise went right up on the couch and got alot of neck scratching and loving. I did only pay the past due on EU. The current charges aren't past due until 8/11. Do you still wnat me to pay it? No sign on B of A yet.
    The pictures are so wonderful. I really feel like I'm on vacation too. I can just imagine the awesomeness of it all. See'ya soon!! SUE