Posted: Sep 25, 2006
Belle Forche, SD to Devil's Tower, MT to Broadus, MT
If you spend the night in Belle Fourche South Dakota and you are headed West, it's a pretty good bet that you are on your way to the Devil's Tower National Monument. If you're not, you should be. And why wouldn'y you want to swing by such an amazing sight? The Devil's Tower was a magma plug in a volcano long, long ago and the volcano eroded away. The magma cooled at a slow rate and formed the giant phonolite porphyritic crystal-like columns that make up the formation. Yowza, that's a mouthful... and that is more than a few years worth of erosion!
Anyhow, the Devil's Tower is, of course, not the destination, the destination is the trip itself. so keep your eyes open. The drive to the monument is through wide open land. with rough hills and weathered homesteads.
An old, dysfunctional windmill is always worth a second look. Stop the car & look around.
Two windmill, one newer, give service to a cabin that has seen better days by far.
Eventually you will come upon the tower itself, rising in the distance. As you get closer you can see the Iron-rich, red hills and cliffs that surround it.
Of course what they don't tell you is that it's all about the bunnies. The Devil's Tower is home to a family of fierce bunnies that have been known to climb up the tower to protect it from hoodlums that might try to deface the monument. ... Why is it looking at me like that?
Those two lumps off to the left (West) of the Devil's Tower are the Missouri Buttes. What is interesting is that they are of the same material as the Devils Tower and date to the same period (40.5 million years). They actually are taller than the Devil's Tower by a few hundred feet. Now imagine... if these formations were from the same volcano and they are 3.5 miles away.... This was a pretty good-sized volcano. Just to put it into perspective, Yellowstone is a youngster. the Volcano that exploded to make the current Yellowstone caldera did so a mere 640,000 years ago. The theorized magma plume that forms the heat source for Yellowstone has moved across the bottom of Idaho for a few million years, only 16 millions of years ago the Yellowstone plume was located at the border or Oregon & Nevada. Why are they called the Missouri Buttes? Well. the Little Missouri river is about 15 miles further to the NorthWest.
Maybe some old boy put up these shacks to draw in tourist trade during the summer months. Maybe they are there just to store his wheelbarrow, but years of weather have burnt them nicely.
Yep, this ol' cabin... it's a big one...The fellow who built this must've been quite successful & had a large family.
Along this part of the drive there were a lot of these stratified rocks tilting on their sides. lovely as they are, they have more a sense of being jumbled and tumbled than offing of a contiguous shelf
Way out in the middle of nowhere on the wide open plains of America you find these tiny school houses. Yes, it looks like the students of these institutions cold honestly claim to walk \"five miles in the snow\" to attend class.
Fifteen miles later another school house equally isolated. Lovely view though.