Vacation 2010 – Day 5

Left Greybull, Wyoming at about 10:30 a.m. headed to Devil’s Tower.  Our route took us through Worland, Wyoming, where my mom used to live, so I called her and let her know that I was there.  From there we headed up into the Bighorn Mountains, the pass over which is 9666 feet tall.  One thing that we didn’t plan on was ending up above the snowline, but we did today!  There wasn’t a whole lot, just a skiff here and there between the trees, but there were ominous clouds all around, and it was really cold and windy.  We were very relieved when we started downhill, and about halfway down encountered a moderate rainstorm with really big drops.  Don’t know what it was doing up above us, but we were really glad to be back in lower terrain.

We got to Devil’s Tower about 3:30 p.m.  I had seen many pictures of the formation (and even a movie or two with pictures of it), but that all left me totally unprepared for the real thing.  This massive formation just suddenly sticks up out of the terrain, looking mostly like a massive stone tree stump!  The indians say that seven little girls were being chased by a huge bear, and they hid on top of a big rock.  The bear was trying to climb up on the rock, so they prayed for escape, and the rock suddenly started to grow upwards.  As it grew, the bear continued to claw the sides until the children were out of reach.  The rock was so high at that point that the kids just stepped into the sky and became the seven stars of the Pleiades.  It’s easy to see why they would think of something like that when you see this thing; it really does look like something huge clawed the sides with huge gashes.  The reality is a little less romantic, and that is that the whole thing is a huge chunk of lava (they think it was at one time a lava plug that the ground has eroded away from), and lava when it cools slowly forms these hexagonal columns (very much like you can see driving through the Columbia River Gorge).  Over time water gets in the cracks between the columns and freezes and thaws, making the cracks wider and wider until one after another the columns come crashing down around the base.

Sharla and I took the 1.3 mile walk all around the base of the tower, and it was amazing – every few steps I had to stop and take another picture, because it kept looking a little different due to the different angles.  Much of the trail wound through big chunks of the columns that had broken off over the years and lay all around at the base of the formation.

One of the things that seems to give the geologists a little trouble is trying to figure out how the small (6 feet across) river at the base of the formation could possibly have eaten away all of the earth that originally covered up this lava plug (let alone dig out the massive valley that surrounds that formation!).  But the Bible tells us very clearly that there was a flood that engulfed the entire world, even covering all of the mountains to a depth of more than 20 feet.  After the flood waters quit rising, the dry land started to rise up and the ocean beds sank down, and all of the floodwaters ran rapidly off into the oceans, gouging out great valleys and gorges, uncovering basalt formations, and leaving behind streams and rivers that flowed through the valleys and gorges.  Scientists saw how this happens

in great detail during an eruption of Mt. St. Helens.  The massive mud flows that came from the volcano laid down in just a couple of days thousands of layers of ash and dirt that totaled a hundred feet thick or more in just two days.  Then a massive flow of water rushed through the area carving out a deep canyon that is very much like the Grand Canyon on a smaller scale, leaving a small stream running along the bottom of it.  But it wasn’t that little stream that carved out the canyon over thousands and millions of years – it was the huge rush of water that carved it out in a matter of hours!  It would be very easy for billions of gallons of water rushing over the land in that area to totally uncover the lava plug that later became Devil’s Tower, as well as carve out the broad valley at its base.  When you use the Bible as your source of historical data, a lot of things that the “scientific” models struggle with are suddenly open to reasonable explanations.

We left Devil’s Tower at about 6:00, and arrived in Rapid City at a little after 8.  Tomorrow we are going to see Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands before heading to the east side of South Dakota so that we can visit with two of Sharla’s aunts on Sunday after Church.

Good night and God bless

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