September 12 – Devils Tower, Wyoming

The drive to Devils Tower was uneventful … other than a stop at the first viewpoint of the giant monolithwhen we watched one couple towing a fifth-wheel who were traveling with not one, two or even three dog; but a total of eight animals …all of whom rode in their truck.Devils Tower is a 5,112’ high pillar, rising 867’ above the surrounding valley floor.Some 50 million years ago magma was forced into the overlaying sedimentary rocks.  As the molten material cooled it contracted and fractured into columns.Over millions of years, erosion of the softer sedimentary rocks exposed the core, which was eventually named Devils Tower.We walked around the base, which has a diameter of 1,000’, giving us a chance to see its surfaces up-close.  The top of the Tower is a teardrop shaped area roughly 1.5 acres in size.

Along the way, we spotted three of the some 5,000 experienced rock climbers to test their skills against the Devils Tower each year.  One was scaling a section solowhile two others were climbing together.
We marveled at the strength they must have in their arms, legs, toes and fingers!

Around the base, several “animals” amused us.And last, but not least …Meantime, there is ample evidence of the nature of the rocks in which Devils Tower was once encased.The pink, Spearfish Formation rock is sandstone.  Immediately above is a relatively thin layer of white Gypsum Springs Formation.  Closer to the surface, and more recently laid down is a thicker layer of shale and on the surface another layer of sandstone; the latter two referred to as the Sundance Formation.

Leaving Devils Tower, we passed through some pretty landscape, both farm land and more red sandstone.We again passed through several small towns, includingwhere one of its dozen or so buildings is a store which has been operating for 115 years.

A few miles down the road,The first town we came to was Belle Fourche, where we visited the oldest home in the county as well as standing at the geographical center of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii).If the truth were told, however, the actual location is in the middle of a field some 20 miles north and 7.8 miles east of this spot.

As we sat down for super, we were treated to a beautiful sunsetand shortly thereafter to an incredible full moon.

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