It was a chilly 36F and raining most of last night but my camper stayed warm and dry! After a big breakfast this morning, I set out for Devil's Tower. The clouds were slung low over the hills and the rain continued to fall. As I approached Devil's Tower, it was mostly obscured by low clouds and I feared I would not get a full look at this massive rock. I stopped frequently along the road leading up to the tower to take photos. At one point a flock of Sand Hill Cranes in a V formation flew right in front of the shrouded hill. Spectacular! Their distinctive cries filled the air. They must be heading for warmer weather! The closer I got to the tower, the more the clouds lifted but the rain continued. I struggled to keep my Nikon D5200 dry today and finally draped it with a plastic bag I had in the car. I need to get a rain cover for it when I get home. When I arrived at the foot of the tower, the clouds had lifted enough for me to get some photos. I stepped out of the truck in the visitors center parking lot with my cell phone in a chest pocket of my vest and my Nikon in hand, took two steps and hit a patch of slick mud. My feet went out from under me and I pitched forward smacking my elbows and the camera on the pavement, and rattling my teeth! I thought the Nikon was a goner for sure but thankfully it's a tough piece of equipment and suffered no damage. My cell phone received a small crack in the screen, my elbows were scraped, and I was covered in mud but otherwise OK! The front of my jeans from hip to ankle were caked in mud as was my jacket. Yikes! Well, my pride was hurt more than anything, so after washing up a bit I got back to enjoying the day. Despite the poor weather I managed to get some interesting shots of Devil's Tower and the surrounding landscape. A nice young man, Andrew, took my photo in front of the monument. Thank you, Andrew! As I walked up the path to the Tower, a man was playing his Native American Flute and I got a few seconds of video. It was so beautiful to hear that flute while gazing at the sacred hill that I didn't think to turn on the camera until he was almost done.... What a gift! I also captured a few shots of deer today. They are as plentiful here as crows are back home. They graze openly in the fields and stroll across the road unfazed by traffic, but will startle and duck for cover if they hear a vehicle stop (to take a photo!). I did catch one beautiful doe standing right by the road and a couple of bucks in a field using my 300 mm lens. Enjoy the photos!
My mud adventure encouraged me to take care of my laundry this afternoon so that chore is all caught up. 2.00/washer and 1.50/dryer here at Mountain View. This is a nice clean facility with new appliances.
Tonight it's predicted to freeze (27F) and possibly snow but it should warm up to the mid 40's during the day tomorrow. I have unhooked the external water hose and will use water from my freshwater tank instead. I also turned on the heat pads to help keep the water system in the trailer from freezing tonight.
Tomorrow I plan to drive to Mt Rushmore which is about 1.5 hours away. I'm hoping for sun!
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