As we cruised down what seemed like every backroad in North Dakota and Montana and we passed the coolest looking rock structures. I screamed (literally) for Mark to stop and he was able to find somewhere to turn around and we went back. Some quick Googling and we found out that the rock formations were in Medicine Rocks State Park. It shouldn't be a surprise (if you read my blog about TRNP anyway, and if you haven't, why not? It's linked here :TRNP Vacation Blog Part 2) that one of the first visitors to Medicine Rocks SP was Theodore Roosevelt. He visited there in the late 1800's and was quoted as having said of the area it was "As fantastically beautiful a place as I have ever seen." It really was wondrous. We explored around the park for about 90 minutes before finally getting back on the road on the way to Devils Tower.
As we approached Devils Tower I was completely taken aback when we came around a bend and KABLAM there it was! I had NO IDEA how massive it was going to be and we were still a couple miles away. We pulled into the park and had to wait in a line of traffic to get up the mountain to park. We were a little nervous that we had come at a bad time and that we would not be able to find a parking spot. A lot of the things I read about the park cautioned about the lack of parking but we pressed on. Once we got through the gate we wound our way slowly up the mountain road 3.4 miles to the visitor center parking area where we lucked out and nabbed a spot that someone else was just pulling out of. Score!
Devils Tower is 867 feet from its base to its summit. It is 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. There are MANY stories of the cultural significance of the tower, each one more intertesting than the last. you can read about them on the Devils Tower website linked above. I could post a whole bunch about how it was formed, or I could just link you to this page, how it was formed. That's easier. It is really interesting stuff. At least we thought so.
We checked out the museum in the visitor center first before setting out along the Tower Trail. This is a 1.3 mile trail that runs the base of the tower. It offers the most spectacular views of this absolutely remarkable geological masterpiece. I was stunned at the size of this thing. I was really not expecting to be as blown away as I was. While we were there we saw several small groups of people climbing the face of the butte. There are a couple pics of these daredevils in the photo video. We took the hike around the base and it was really enjoyable. The weather was beautiful and no matter what part of the trail we were on it afforded just one of a kind views. We were so glad we added this stop into our trip!
After spending a few hours at Devils Tower we got back on the road to head to our stop for the evening. We were staying at this place called the Crow Peak Lodge in Spearfish. It looked pretty nice online so I was excited to get there and relax for the evening. However, when we pulled into the location, I literally started crying and was legit concerned about staying there. It looked totally sketch and not AT ALL like the pics. Mark assured me it would be fine, and we could deal with it for one night. It was clean in the room and even though it didnt look like it the pics needless to say I lived to tell. The bed was actually pretty dang comfy.
Please be sure to check out the photo video here Mark and Kathy's Most excellent vacation part 3! I really appreciate those of you that take the time to read my blog and look at my videos. It takes time to write them and make the videos and it means the world to me that you take your time to check them out! Thank you!
Next blog will be all about Custer State Park! Stay Tuned!
Much love to all!