Jack and I woke up around 7:30 and headed straight for Devil’s Tower. Along the short drive to the visitor’s center, Jack realized what prarie dogs were for the first time and fell in love. There was a huge field of them them right across the entrance to the park land. At first he said “All I see is a lot of small rocks”, but I told him to look again and he soon saw the cute little buggers running all over.
We arrived at the visitor’s center a bit before they opened, so we headed up around the loop trail so we could see the tower from all sides. The trail was pretty flat and paved, so it was easy going – there was also a pretty large amount of traffic for 7:45 in the morning.
The first feature we reached was the large boulder field. Climbing is allowed in the boulder field up to the actual tower face without a permit, so I encouraged Jack to scramble up it a bit. He was pretty nervous though, so he didn’t go far.
Once he got down from the boulders, we continued along the trail. Soon, we saw a deer up ahead. I stopped and was pointing to Jack and the person behind us thought we were pulling over to make room for us and charged ahead with a thank you. I whispered “There’s a deer there!” and he stopped and gawked with us for a few moments. It became clear that the deer was going nowhere fast and they guy asked if I thought he could continue up the trail (I don’t think he was from the US). I told him the deer would probably run off as soon as we got a little closer, so we continued on. I was wrong though – that deer had no intention of abandoning its sweet grazing spot. We eventually passed right by it, not 10 feet away.
Just past the deer we saw a bunch of people off the trail looking at the tower and we realized they were watching climbers scamper up the sheer rock face like little spiders. Seriously, these guys were way quicker than I would have expected.
We continued around the rest of the trail. On the eastern side, I got to touch the face of the tower, which was my main goal. We also saw lots of prayer bundles and prayer flags, but we didn’t learn the full significance of them. I also saw a group of little figures that I liked.
Back at the visitor’s center, Jack decided he didn’t want to do the junior ranger program here, I think partially because it was becoming VERY busy. He just asked to get a Devil’s Tower coin, mostly because it had prarie dogs on the back. We climbed back in the car and plunged deeper into Wyoming.
One planned stop I had was to visit the site of the Sundance Kid’s incarceration. However, since it was July 3rd, the museum and courthouse were closed. A small bummer, but Jack was very much not interested in this historical figure, since he was a bad guy. I had to coerce him to take a photo with the statue they had on site by saying he could beat him up.
After many more miles on the Wyoming highways, Jack was ready for a stop. Lusk, WY was the next reasonably sized town, so we stopped there for pizza and to visit their stagecoach museum. It was lucky we stopped because I think Jack enjoyed something at this little museum more than anything on this trip. As most of you know, Jack is very interested in the Gravity Falls tv show, which is about a lot of paranormal stuff. When he saw this real two headed calf in the museum, he was more excited than I’ve seen him in a long time – he even demanded a photo!
Once we actually had our pizza, Jack realized he had eaten a half can of pringles and wasn’t actually hungry, so we took it to go. I figured there had to be a reasonably nice park down the road. Right when Jack was ready to eat, we came upon Lingle, WY and a lovely little park right next to the highway. We pulled over and had a quick pic-nic.
We were hearing from Rachel and Sam that they were on the road home and we were on track to arrive around the same time as them. When we got near Cheyenne, I was feeling a little road weary, so I asked Jack if he wanted to stop in for some mini golf. That was not exactly a hard sell.
It wasn’t the best course, but it was definitely better than Ogi’s. Jack liked them both the same though, which means he had a great time. Refreshed, we hit the road for our final leg of the trip. Soon we were back in the big city and back with the rest of the family. Jack missed Sam a lot and I missed them too, so we were happy to be home and to have a nice chill evening with everyone together.
Jack and I had a great adventure. I hope he remembers some of it 🙂