While we were still in Spearfish we took a couple of day trips. On Sunday, after a leisurely breakfast for Motherlode participants, we headed into Wyoming to Devil's Tower National Monument. We'd been there on our first South Dakota vacation 13 years ago, and while I'd enjoyed it I had no huge desire to go back. That's why we'd planned the visit on Sunday; if I was still too tired from the race I could just stay back at the camper. Instead, my unexpectedly short ride left me with plenty of sightseeing energy.
Because we'd gotten a late start there was a decent line at the entrance gate, but we were still able to score a good parking place and picnicked out of the cooler while waiting for Jeff's family to arrive. After a quick spin through the small visitor's center (not much there), we walked up to the trail around the tower.
Jeff, my nephew, and I walked around while Jacob opted to run the trail, catching us just before we hit the halfway point and then continuing on with us. Another sister-in-law and nephew started the hike planning to only go a little bit and ended up completing the whole circle. There were other trails as well, but we skipped them because no one else really wanted to hike.
Jacob loves scrambling on rocks, so he'd been very disappointed to learn that there's a voluntary climbing ban in place during the month of June out of respect for Native American religious beliefs. It was still nice to walk the path around the monument. Most of our group wasn't much for hiking, and my sister-in-law's dogs weren't allowed on any of the trails, so we stuck with just the Tower trail, a paved path that circled the base.
There's a prairie dog village along the road on the way out, so we stopped there to watch them for a while and then made another stop at a gift shop just outside of the park grounds. I prefer to buy from the park stores so that the money goes to support the parks, but I hadn't found anything in the visitor's center that called to me and ended up buying a hat I liked in the store.
From there, we went our separate ways for the last time of the trip. Everyone else was already in Custer; we headed back to Spearfish. With a relatively short day, I still had time to take our dirty clothes to a nearby laundromat. We have a nice little drying rack for all the things that need to hang dry (seems like more and more of them), but it stormed that night, so we had to make some drying space inside the camper.
|Still better than smelling my sweaty jerseys for another week!|
I'd prepped and frozen taco meat before we left for Sunday's dinner; unfortunately the new cooler and freezer packs we were using hadn't kept the meat cold enough. It was room temperature when I took it out of the cooler; with two friends having just finished a nasty bout of food poisoning and Jacob already dealing with stomach issues I wasn't taking any chances. We threw away the meat, made do with a very unsatisfactory (but non-food poisoning) meal from McDonald's, and spent the rest of the night packing things up for our move the next day.