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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

24 States in 27 Days - Day 4:

Oct. 13th, 2012, Saturday - At 7:30 we climbed out of our canopy, curious to see where we were now that it was light. It was a lovely campsite with Leigh Creek just beyond our picnic table. Brad started water for coffee then went to explore. 

I turned off the stove, poured the boiling water into our French press coffee pot then went on a photo shoot down by the creek. For fun, I collected rocks and made a cairn while Brad washed up nearby, then we had breakfast, reorganized bags and packed everything up. 

We took off a bit before 10:00, climbing up above the creek with cottonwoods shimmering yellow in the canyon.

Brad drove while I took drive-by pics, until we ran into road construction. I rolled down my window to ask how long and the fella said 15 minutes so we turned off the truck and got out. Brad took the camera and shot pics while I stretched, then we chat with the weathered, road construction guy while waiting. He’d moved to Wyoming in the 70’s when he was 12, and hearing about our road trip, talked about hitch-hiking all 48 states every summer with friends while in high school - not something he’d recommend doing these days. Quite the character! Once the pilot truck showed up, we climbed back in ours, said “bye!” with a wave, and continued on towards Buffalo, up and over a 9,666 ft. pass. 

In Buffalo Brad drove downtown where we parked, ready to find a coffee shop & wifi. Mmm, downtown smelled like bacon! Standing outside an organic BBQ joint reading the menu, we heard through the screen door - “come on in!” so we stepped inside. The bartender handed us menus and gave us the run down on the place. Brad asked if they had wifi and he said sure, sometimes. Brad needed to buy a font to finish business cards for a client. It seemed like a good enough place to settle - they were happy to accommodate us, so we sat and ordered lunch. While Brad worked, I uploaded photos. When finished with lunch and work, we took off to explore the downtown area. Leaving town, I took over driving so Brad could finish the biz cards and we hopped on I-90 until the exit to Devil’s Tower National Monument. It had been mostly cloudy all day, 63ยบ in Buffalo, yet even though it was prettier now, we saw a possible rain storm in the distance. The Devil’s Tower finally appeared, way up ahead, impressing Brad like I had been the first time I’d seen it in 2005. 

We arrived around 4:30,  and soon came upon a prairie dog habitat we had to stop and check out. 

It was 5ish before we started hiking the trail around the tower so we went fast, pausing for photos, of course. 

Brad really enjoyed it - he hiked to the base of the Tower, over fallen rocks while I shot pics of prayer tokens. 

We spotted several groups of climbers, tiny, like ants way up high - just barely visible with their white helmets or red jackets. Their voices carried though - we could hear them before seeing them. Towards the end of our hike we experienced some slight rain sprinkles, but they didn’t last. 

Once back at the truck, I drove down quickly, wanting to catch the light and a campground spot. The campground was almost full - a Sat. night, with just 2-3 open sites. We took one then I hurried Brad down to the Belle Fourche River so we could see it before dark, happy he had our little camera w/him. 

We hiked to the far corner of the campground, then back to make a delicious dinner with greens and tomatoes from our garden, a hard boiled egg, smoked gouda, blue cheese, potato chips and homemade clam dip. In the dark, we crunched chips and watched a tiny light on the Devil’s Tower. Brad thought they were climbers, still up there! We went to wash bowls, forks, knife & cutting board in the bathroom, but a sign said to wash dishes at the sink washing area between bathrooms. This turned out to be a closet sized room with an odd square basin, about knee high with a metal collar protecting the porcelain edge and a faucet about chest high. The large bowl could be flushed like toilet. Quite the washing system! It was warm in the canopy that night - too warm, so I opened the window behind our heads, between the canopy and the cab. That let in a nice breeze which felt like a silk scarf fluttering over our faces. Cool but not cold. Unfortunately, I tossed and turned, until I finally flipped off the second duvet (which meant Brad now had three layers!) otherwise, it was quiet with just the wind rattling dry leaves in the cottonwood trees, sounding like falling rain.

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