Dick and I have decided to take advantage of the warm days of January to take some mini road trips. A week ago on Saturday we picked up Kabe and headed for the southern Black Hills. We ate lunch at Rico’s in Hill City–really good Mexican Food!, had a beer in Custer at my old stompin’ grounds (and I do mean old–like forty years ago) the Ore Car Saloon and then on to Hot Springs for a soak and hot sand room and finally back for dinner at Tally’s. It was a blast!
This Saturday we got a much later start. So we decided to try to make Devil’s Tower by sunset for a photo op. We took Highway 24 west out of Belle Fourche past Aladdin. We were so late that for the first time ever, we didn’t stop at the Aladdin General Store–that is an adventure in itself! But we were on a mission. Devil’s Tower by sunset or burst! We started to see DT on the horizon about 10 miles away. The sky had some orange and red streaks but we were worried they would be gone by the time we got there and they were. So here we were, Devil’s Tower in front of us—grey and without sunset colors. But it was Devil’s Tower nonetheless. And Devil’s Tower no matter what is worthy of photos. So Dick jumped out of the car and took a shot from the south east side. Then we went into the Monument and stopped on the south side. Dick, Zig (the wonder dog) and I got out and climbed up a hill to get a better shot. Zig and I went back to the car. Dick took a bunch more photos and came back to the car. When he got there he knocked hard on the window I looked up, he pointed back at the Tower. Where it had been lackluster and gray, it suddenly and I mean suddenly was lit with a golden blazing light! It was as if Hollywood were doing a sequel to “Encounters of the Third Kind” and had decided the Tower should be high noon bright! But here was the odd–or odder–part. Only Devil’s Tower was lit. Everywhere else was still grey. Dick raced back up the hill we had just climbed to get closer shots. I stayed with the car and tried to figure out where the light source was coming from. There should have been a trail of light or a path leading to Devil’s Tower but there wasn’t light anywhere but directly on the Tower. Dick came running down the hill and moved a little further to the south west and began to climb that hill to get more shots. As he cleared the first rise, he saw a large rock split in his sight line. If he could get there in time, he could get a shot of the Tower through it that would be spectacular. He moved up the hill as fast as he could. He could feel the light fading. He moved faster and really thought he would make it in time. Just as he got to the perfect spot for the shot, the Tower dimmed. Close but no banana. Still, the shots he got were amazing and the contrast of the BG (before glow) and AF (after glow) were stunning. I have seen Devil’s Tower many many times, often at sunset, but I have never seen anything like this. I doubt I ever will again.