Glacier Reunion Redux 2007

Home [] The Jabo Gathering [] Badlands & Devils' Tower [] Custer & Glacier

We set out from Madison Tuesday afternoon in a borrowed car (Thanks, Sue!) and drove all night, thanks mostly to Gabe's stamina, and reached the South Dakota Badlands by dawn. We took the scenic route through, stopped for a stretch and a welcome breakfast, then kept on.

At Wall Drug we made the acquaintance of Jared the Jackalope who was up for a road trip. Endowed with the lightning speed and other scary superpowers characteristic of his race, Jared tirelessly protected car and camp. He listened with a certain professional interest as Day read to us from the zombie novel "World War Z" to while away the weary miles.

The Vore Buffalo Jump is a national monument wannabe. They're working hard towards funding and recognition. Deep stata of bones show that for hundreds of years First Nation peoples would organize to stampede bison into the natural sinkhole, and butcher the fallen to stock their winter larders.
We travelled through the Black Hills and the town of Deadwood, Wyoming. We camped in the Bighorn Mountains, at apparently the last campsite available for many miles around. We were not aware that we had happened upon "Sturges Week", an annual gathering of tens of thousands of motorcyclists.

Thermopolis, Wyoming

Day guided us to Thermopolis and the hot springs known for "healing water". In 1896 a treaty was signed with the Shoshone and Arapaho, which gave the wider public use of one of the largest mineral hot springs in the world.

We eased away travel dirt and aches soaking in the warm pools of the State Bath House.

The 127 degree mineral-rich water emerges from the turquoise and green spring at the rate of over 3 million gallons per day. Some swear to the healing properties of the 27 different minerals.

Centuries of deposits from the mineral-laden water have created "rainbow terraces" bigger than those of Yellowstone, and a sculpted cliff over the Bighorn River. We strolled through the faintly sulphurous air on the raised boardwalks and the swinging cable bridge over the river.

Devil's Tower is a striking feature on the landscape, a famous movie set, and the sacred place of Indians for milennia. The Tower was created by magma upthrusting into a pocket in the Earth's crust; the surrounding softer sedimentary rock later eroded over the eons to reveal the Tower's ribbed form. We circumnavigated the Tower, sharing our visit with hundreds of biker-tourists.

We learned that a party of climbers were scaling the Tower, to camp overnight on the summit. That's one of them in the red circle; point with your mouse to get a better sense of the scale!

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