Exploring Devil's Tower

Devil’s Tower was fascinating. Geologists don’t quite know what to make of it, but a popular theory is that it was the plug from a volcano. The plug was molten rock that was coming up from below the mantle. It hardened into harder stuff than the dirt in the hill, and over time, erosion carried away everything but the plug.

No matter how it got here, it was spectacular to view.

We got to our campsite around midnight, and I accidentally drove past it in the dark. Since I had to turn around, and the kids were asleep, I thought I would take a quick star photo, since they were so brilliant. I told Shel that we had to be close to Devil’s tower, but it was so dark, there was no way to know. I figured a quick shot may show it.

I set the tripod up and did a 15-second exposure to see what was out there. Since I was the only human for many miles, I was a little nervous being outside by myself–I kept jumping at every noise–so I grabbed the camera and ran back to the truck to see what we got. For some reason, the lights kicked on just before the exposure was done, so they created this Close-Encounters-of-the-Third-Kind halo in the photo. I was about to give up and head to the campground when I noticed the Tower, hiding behind the trees in the left of the photo.

Close Encounters.jpg

“It’s right there!” I whispered excitedly to Shel. We turned around and took the next road we could find toward the Tower.

Even though we couldn’t see it, I was able to make a couple long exposures that revealed it to us. It was awe-inspiring to be out in the open next to such an interesting feature–sensing it just beyond the visible light. I even did a 30-minute exposure to show the stars’ movement.

Stars and Devil's Tower.jpg

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In the morning, we looked out the Airstream windows to see Devil’s Tower looming in the background.

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The kids loved free-climbing the massive boulders that had fallen over the centuries.




The kids and I scrambled up to the sign that forbade us going higher without permits.




It’s an inspiring chunk of nature and one of our favorite places on the trip.

Devil's Tower in the Rearview-0.jpg