The one other attraction at Devil's Tower, besides the tower, is the prairie dog towns. I always meant to go and take pictures of them one afternoon after climbing, but somehow it never happened. So on my way out of the park, I stopped for a little while and took some pictures of them.
Kinda neat little animals. They don't mind the people and the cars, until you get slightly closer than normal. Then they bolt back into their holes. By and large they are quite social though. All hanging out together, and chirping back and forth.
But that was just on the way out of the park, my real destination for the day was Mt Rushmore, and a camp in the Black Hills. Driving through Deadwood I ran into "Kool Deadwood Nites" which was the biggest classic car rally I'd ever seen. Immaculately polished old chevy's, fords, oldsmobiles, pontiacs, all of them. Awesome for a little while, then just a traffic hazard.
The Black Hills really are different from the Wyoming Hills, they are covered in trees, densely covered in trees. Unfortunately it all starts degenerating into tourtist traps as you get closer to Rushmore. Keystone was an appallingly ugly town, all lights and motels and diners, and then there's Rushmore itself.
The sculpture is amazing. It really is. The park is fairly crass commercialism, from having to pay to get in, to the signs advertising all the companies that donated money for various arguably needless "improvements". THe parking is a highly contentious issue. Parks Passes are not accepted, as the parking is run by the concessionaire. They have two large dirt lots that used to be the free parking that are now fenced off, so you actually have no option whatsoever of not paying the concessionaire. Unless you walk, from Keystone, and then maybe a bus to Keystone. And apparently the massive multistory parking structure that you are paying for the priviledge of is sliding down the mountain due to some shoddy engineering work.
But the sculptures really are cool. You can tell that borglum really wanted to do more, as they definitely aren't as finished as they could be, but the brochures all say that the piece is finished. From there to a camp at Sylvan Lake...
Devil's Tower and surrounds
Prairie Dog Social
Cool Bridge in South Dakota