Why, Wyoming, of course!

Trip Start Aug 13, 2010
Trip End Oct 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Left the Black Hills and drove through Deadwood, the town where Wild Bill Hickok was killed while playing a game of poker at the local saloon. Deadwood's claim to fame these days is its gambling - 80 casinos line its two main streets for a town of about 5,000 people. We chose not to stop at any of them. 

Next stop was Devil's Tower National Monument in northeastern Wyoming.  It’s a 1,000 foot monolithic column of rock in the middle of the prairie land with deep vertical striations.  Think of a gigantic tree stump rising out of the grassland.  There were a few climbers trying to scale the Tower while we were there – about 1% of visitors to the monument try to scale it each year.  No word on how many make it to the summit.  Seems difficult considering most of the climb would be sheer vertical rock without many ledges or breaks. 

We hiked a 1.5 mile trail there, where we saw a doe and her fawn about 20 feet away from us.  We also came across a massive prairie dog colony, and enjoyed watching them pop in and out of their burrows and perch on their mounds.  Rachel thought prairie dogs were very cute until she learned from Andrea that prairie dogs can carry plague.  We then headed to Gillette, Wyoming’s fastest-growing town (of 20,000) thanks to its coal and oil deposits.  (Gillette produces more coal than either West Virginia or Kentucky.)  Our only interest in Gillette, however, was in finding some coffee for the remaining drive to Powell, Wyoming. 

The drive through most of Wyoming, by the way, was incredibly desolate.  A lot of ranchland, but few ranchers.  It's hard to think of other places in the country that seemed as vast and isolated as the central portion of this state. 
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