Year 2 Day 264 Devils Tower

As soon as we got up this morning we rushed over to the local supermarket to reprovision. Last night, Jeannie and Ed gave us a heads’ up as to where we should grocery shop in Custer. Since it will be not be until well into next week before we will be seeing another market, we wanted to restock our fresh vegetables and fruits.

Once we returned to LeuC and had put everything away, we bundled her up and started goin’ down the road again. This time, our destination was Devils Tower, Wyoming. If you ever watched the 1977 Steven Spielberg classic alien movie: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” starring Richard Dreyfuss, you are familiar with Devils Tower. If you have never watched this movie, the chances are you have never heard of it.

Devils Tower is actually a national monument thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt. Geologists are not quite sure how it formed as there are many different theories that have been put forth to explain it. As of today, it is still a mystery.

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On our drive from Custer to Devils Tower we dropped down the western side of the Black Hills and entered Wyoming. On the way, we saw all kinds of wild animals. While we were at a gas station filling up our diesel tanks, Mary Margaret watched a mountain lion crossing a hill in front of her. Then, as we were driving down the road, she spied a couple of mountain goats forging on some grass. We stopped and she took this picture.

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Mountain goats are very skittish creatures and getting so close to one is a rarity. I remember my dad and his brother trying to spy them up in the Cascades of northwest Washington and taking such great pride in spotting one only to discover that it was only a rock. They grew up and lived in the Pacific Northwest and shared with us kids that mountain goats are very hard to find.

Later on, as we were driving down the road, we had to stop as a fawn was in the middle of the road. As she crossed, another fawn and then their mother sprang from the brush and crossed also. Once we reached the Devils Tower, we saw some more deer grazing in the shadows of a large tree next to the road.

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We also stopped to watch a community of prairie dogs. They are common in the plains grasslands here and are so cute. They live in burrows underground but love to come out during the day to sun. They also stand guard over the entrance of their burrow to warn the community of approaching dangers.

We have a lovely campsite here at the National Monument. It is dry camping which means there are no utilities or hookups. We will be running our generator to charge our batteries and using our diesel furnace to keep us warm. It will be getting into the low 40s tonight.

We would love to stop and spend more time here since the campground is so lovely. However, we have miles to make in order to cross the Rockies before the snow season begins so we will be leaving tomorrow morning. Our next destination will be the Little Bighorn battlefield, where Lt Col. Custer died at the hands of the Crazy Horse and the Sioux Indians.

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