It was an easy day trip out there and back from the Escapade rally in Gillette. Scientists believed there was an eruption of magma up through the sedimentary rock of the area and that all of the rock around the the core eventually wore away leaving just the harder core standing.
We liked the Indian version better of the area -- that it was known as Bear Lodge and that a large group of women and children had to quickly scale the tower to avoid the advances of a HUGE bear who proceeded to scratch the outer surface of the tower as they fought him back from the top of the tower. See the scratch marks in the second photo?
We did an easy hike around the entire base of the tower – it was just over a mile trip. We saw as many as 10 people climbing the tower. Apparently it is on most mountain climbers’ bucket list. The tower base hike also gave us great vistas of surrounding valleys with a field of hay bales in the background.
On the way back we snapped a picture along the freeway of one of the many coal mines in Campbell County. The Coach told us that this mine only provides coal to an electrical generation plant on the other side of the freeway – that this is one of the small mines. He then described a “bulldozer” with a shovel big enough that it can fill two coal-carrying rail cars with one scoop.