Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Devil's Tower and Spearfish Canyon
For our 3rd full day of vacationing, we decided to take a little road trip to visit Devil's Tower National Monument. It's a 2 hour drive from where we were staying - in Hill City, SD - but we had heard from multiple people that it was worth the drive and we didn't want to miss it! And so we headed a little West for another adventure!
We had only been in Wyoming once, very briefly while driving on I-80 before heading South to Rocky Mountain National Park. I couldn't believe how beautiful this state is from I-90! From the rolling hills covered in pines to the red rocks popping out, contrasting against the yellow grass, I couldn't take my eyes off the beauty of this land. It sure makes the drive interesting after having driven 10 hours past nothing but cornfields and grasslands. ;)
|Some red rocks peaking through the hills!|
I was shocked when I first saw Devil's Tower - I knew it was a tall prominent feature, I just had no idea how much taller it would be compared to its surroundings!! Standing on a hill at 5,112 feet, it's pretty hard to miss while driving on this highway. Because of the haze brought on by the Canadian wildfires, the tower had an eerie, mysterious look from afar.
But just because you can see it from driving past doesn't mean you shouldn't stop! We decided to take the mile long loop trail that circles the tower. Once again, the parking lot, visitor's center, and initial lookout happened to be the busiest parts of the park, and we were able to enjoy the tower from all sides without the crowds. (Though I'm not sure if being around other tourists is something my family is as bothered by as I am...I just like enjoying God's creation in peace!) :)
|Close up of my sign for today - always thinking of my husband. :)|
|Looking out over the Wyoming countryside.|
|My lovely parents!|
We enjoyed watching some itty bitty climbers slowly making their way up the tower. Some of us expressed interest in trying this someday, but others (me) prefer to stick with hiking around them. ;)
On our way out, we stopped to say hi to some very friendly prairie dogs! They were so adorable...yet signs warned us of them having fleas carrying the plague, so it wasn't too tempting to try to take one home as a souvenir for Charlotte. ;)
|They were rather fond of dad!|
|Goodbye, Devil's Tower!|
After spending an hour or two here, we headed back to South Dakota, via a different highway than the one we came. All for the sake of being able to highlight new roads on the atlas! Sorry Curtis! (And yes, I'll get my own Atlas, and keep ours strictly for us.) ;)
|Thank goodness we left the state, I wasn't able to get my Welcome-to-SD picture last time!|
|Missing him, and would rather be kissing my husband under these falls!|
When we got to Spearfish, we exited the interstate and took the long, scenic way back, through Spearfish Canyon. We were thrilled by the tall, towering canyon walls that made us feel so small. It reminded me just a bit of the feeling I got in Zion National Park...I just love looking up at those sheer canyon walls. And to top it all off, we were able to see multiple waterfalls as we drove along!
|Bridal Veil Falls, right off of Spearfish Canyon highway!|
For our last hike of the day, we walked on the 1 mile trail to Roughlock Falls. We figured out at the end that you can actually drive to the end just to see the falls, but who wants to miss hiking in this gorgeous canyon? (on a completely flat and very easy trail, I might add!) While lots of people were gathered at the falls, the trail was quiet and we soaked in the scenery of this magnificent canyon.
We also ran into a great big Newfoundland dog. This may have been Sarah's highlight of the hike. ;) The Trail took us along the creek that comes from the falls, and offers great views of the canyon walls lined with pines opposite us.
The end was gorgeous, and we enjoyed viewing the Roughlock falls from all around. This area (along with the rest of the Midwest, I think!) has gotten plenty of rain this year, and while other days we may have been suffering due to the mosquitos that come because of that, today we were thoroughly enjoying it because it made the falls so great to see!
After our little hike, we made our way back to Hill City, where we had dinner in our cabin, then went for a walk in "downtown" Hill City that ended with ice cream. A wonderful end to the perfect vacation day!
Day 4 wrap up: drove 250 miles, hiked 3 miles, saw Devil's Tower National Monument and Spearfish Canyon.