This morning Gina, Sam, Nate, and I left for a short excursion to the Black Hills. This is something we have been wanting to do for awhile, and we finally did it this summer while we were visiting my parents in Wyoming. Sam began asking last summer when we would go see Mt. Rushmore, which kind of surprised me. We had seen a story about it in a book, and the idea of seeing huge heads carved from the side of a mountain was too much to resist for a 6-year old.
We started our adventure today by driving to Devils Tower, which is about 3 hours from Casper. If you have never been here before, it is totally worth the trip. This national monument is unlike anything you can find elsewhere in the United States. We took the plunge and did the entire 1.5 mile hike around the base of the tower. You can see all kinds of varied terrain as you complete the loop, from valleys, rivers, canyons, and mountain ranges. The tower itself seems to change shape as you walk around, which is why we took so many pictures (oh, and a new camera). We saw squirrels, deer, birds, prairie dogs, and rock climbers up on the tower, and we met some very nice people as we hiked. We even saw the old wooden ladder that people once used to climb the tower themselves (YIKES!). Sam and Nate did great until about the 1-mile mark. You can see from their expressions that they were pretty worn out from the trek, but they bounced back in no time after they earned their Junior Park Ranger badges.
There were no alien sightings, but we have heard those don't usually happen until after dark. I did have this strange urge to play with my mashed potatoes at supper (movie humor). We are now in our cabin in Keystone, and we can hardly wait to see some more amazing sights tomorrow. You can view all of our photos from today in our online web album.