Will There Be Mashed Potatoes?

The drive across Wyoming was interesting, diverse and engaging.  Things to look at, wonder about, ask questions and postulate answers. From Caspar we headed north east towards Gillette and then a bit east to the first National Monument in America, Devils Tower.  Yes, there is no apostrophe.  Whether left out on purpose or accident it is as the act of Congress declared it to be.

Just as Richard Dreyfus imagined it, it looks like a giant pile of mashed potatoes formed with a fork.  More than 1,500 ft high. In fact, it is a highly regarded sacred place by many Native American people.

We stayed at the campground in the park, $9 a night with our geezer pass, nice.

Very quiet, lots of RVs and tent campers.  

The Tower is an old volcano core which filled with molten lava and then cooled.  As it cooled the lava cracked and formed hexagonal columns which are the vertical columns you can see.  Most of these are 10 feet across on each side or more. In the middle of this picture there are two climbers decending this side of the tower, the more difficult to climb. Permits are required and nothing can be left behind. When we first saw them they were standing on the top of column to their right about 80 ft above where they are now.

When the core filled with lava and cooled it was more than a mile and a half under ground.  All of this happened before the Tetons were formed. Ancient rivers, several ice ages and weather wore away at the landscape until after millions of years this is what is left.

The base of the tower is surrounded by the rubble field.

Many of these fallen rocks are sections of columns much bigger than a city bus.

Here is another climber.  I took this with my iPhone at maximum zoom through a binocular device visitors were using to look up at the Tower.  It took a bit of adjusting until everything was aligned and then I took the picture.  Pretty amazing.

Same thing with the iPhone with no zoom just the binoculars.

We baked one last loaf of bread.  Amazing how it came out.

Ponderosa pines and oak trees were all around.
Just to the right of the green fields below is where the landing site in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was filmed.  At that time there was nothing there. The land owner rented the land to the movie company and with the money he opened a KOA and gift stores right near where the entrance to the Monument is today.  Lots of alien references. Only eleven minutes of actual local scenes were in the movie.  Everything else was on built up sets.
We had thought about going to the Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park but it is a week away and we just don’t think there is enough draw in the Black Hills for a week.  So we will get to the buffalo roundup another day.

A few more days to get home.  There is the vast wasteland of South Dakota to cross.  A Corp of Enginners Campground at Big Bend Dam looks like our next stop.

A bit more later.
Roger and Susan

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