Sunday, April 24, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #25

Why, oh why, Wyoming? Because if you had seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind you would want to visit Devils Tower, too!

We were almost there when a sign at a scenic overlook pointed out that you could still see wagon ruts in this prairie from Lt. Custer's 1874 Black Hills Expedition of 110 wagons and 1200 men. Well, I *thought* I could see them and if you knew where to look in this photo you *could* see the top of Devils Tower.

Ah, there it is. A little closer, yet still miles away and one or two crossings of the meandering Belle Fourche River.

Devils Tower was the first U.S. National Monument, declared by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Known as Bear Lodge by Native Americans, the deep vertical markings, according to legend, were made by the claws of a bear trying to climb the monolith.
The picture is of me at the beginning of the 1.3 mile trail around the base. It was definitely worth seeing.

From Devils Tower we went on to Montana, which I wrote about in December, and then back into Wyoming after crossing Bear Tooth Pass. After the scary trip to the top, I wasn't looking forward to the same steep, twisting roads down. But the Wyoming side was a lovely surprise of mountain lakes and meadows along a gentler declining road.

We entered Yellowstone National Park at the North Gate. One of the stops for pictures was of  the Upper Falls on the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Another picture of the Yellowstone River, below, but I was really going for the weathered roots of this tree.

Then it was on to Old Faithful and a wait to see it in action.

Our biggest surprise in this park came after seeing Old Faithful...

...and making a trip to the restrooms like everyone else. I came out after waiting in line to find Bud talking to his cousin Carolyn and her husband Dennis.
You just don't expect to see people from your hometown amidst all the hundreds of others in the park! Especially when you didn't even know they were in the area.

We did have some nice views of the Grand Tetons on the drive from Yellowstone to Jackson.

Where we had lunch and took the obligatory elk antler arch photos. We probably tried to see too much, too fast on this trip, but I wanted to get as much good out of my National Park Pass as possible - seeing as many of them as we could even if we didn't spend enough time at each one.

Why Wyoming? Because it is a beautiful state with many natural wonders to enjoy.

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