Seventh Day: Rapid City and Wyoming

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series South Dakota Trip 2013


Today, we would be going to the Petrified Forest in Piedmont, near Rapid City. We would also stop by Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, and then head to Wyoming to visit Devils Tower. I was especially excited about this. But, first, let’s talk about Dinosaur Park. It is located on a hill in Rapid City, which provides good vistas of the city. It has a variety of life-size dinosaur sculptures, and a gift shop.20130611_114900
The path up to the dinosaurs, and you can see some up on the hill.
One of the dinos, with a person for scale.
Part of the view from the top, there are great hills just to the left of this picture. We also made a quick stop at the Dakota Stone’s Rock Shop. This place had a massive amount of interesting rocks, fossils and gemstones just out in bins in the front of the store. This is a cool stop to dig through, and to get some unique souvenirs.20130611_102646
4.Our main stop of the day in South Dakota, however, was the Petrified Forest in Piedmont. My grandparents spoke highly of it, and I must say, it was very interesting. They had a peaceful walk and self-guided tour through various massive logs of petrified wood. The wood is actually cypress, because this was a swampy environment back when these trees lived and died. The lady running it was very nice. This was a great place to relax and get to see petrified trees sitting just as they fell so long ago.
Here is one of the larger trees.
My grandmother took this picture while we were walking the trail here. I really like the feeling of this picture. It was lightly raining, which made the whole scene look so vibrant. Some people may not like rainy weather, but the trip wouldn’t have been the same without at least some of it.
We were here on a Tuesday, so maybe that explains the quietness. I don’t know how busy it is on the weekends, but we had the place to ourselves.After that, we were ready to head off into Wyoming. I think it was sometime around here that we decided to extend the trip yet another day, and go to Montana too! We wanted to see the Little Bighorn Battlefield.
Heading into Wyoming there were some beautiful red rock formations, and plenty of open land. One thing I really liked about these states is that the land tended to be used by ranchers rather than farmers. Nothing against farmers, it just is much more dramatic to see a lot of open land for grazing, as compared to a lot of corn fields.DSCN1059
I have always seen pictures of red rock in Utah and such, but it was beautiful to see it here, rising up from the green of the prairie.
In this zoomed-out picture of the cliffs (bluffs? rocks? What are those actually called?) you can see a storm coming in, which perfectly set the scene for when we reach Devils Tower.By the time we reached Devils Tower, it was raining heavily with thunder booming all around. A fantastic welcome to Wyoming.
Here you can see the powerful-looking clouds. Too bad the picture came out a little blurry…
This is one of my favorite pictures that I took from the whole trip. It was early on, when we had first seen Devils Tower.We checked into our hotel in Hulett and got to bed. We wouldn’t actually be spending time at Devils Tower until the day after tomorrow, because tomorrow we would be going to Montana and back. I ended today excited about going to Montana and about being in Wyoming.
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