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Campsite Photo Trip - 2013

E.T. and the Prairie Puppies

We get a few Wyoming campgrounds as we head toward Yellowstone National Park:

No, it's not a new country band, just some creatures I happened upon at Devil's Tower. But that comes later.

I left Custer State Park on Wednesday with my usual companion. Rain.


I headed 100 miles west to Wyoming. My first stop was at Keyhole State Park.


There are 10 campgrounds here, six of them being developed and having site numbers.

But I don't mean developed as in having flush toilets or showers. In fact, none of the State Parks in Wyoming have those. Just vault toilets and the occasional water spigot which are hard to find. I guess that this is to keep the costs down. Residents of the state can purchase an annual camping pass for only $40.

I found a nice spot at Pronghorn campground, number 5.

Keyhole-Campsite-1 Keyhole-Campsite-2

It was becoming increasingly cloudy so I was not sure where the sun would rise.Turns out my location was perfect for a sunrise. Here is my view from the trailer on Thursday morning.


Sweet. Here are a few more.

Campsite-Sunrise Keyhole-Lake-Sunrise

And it only rained about 1/4 of an inch overnight. That's nothing.


I spent the day exploring the campground. Quite a few of the sites are on the water, like number 8 at Arch Rock.


And number 2 at Pat's Point.


The largest campground is Tatanka with 45 sites and is the only one that takes reservations, which are required from May 15 to September 15. It is also the only campground with electricity. There are some cool sites here. I especially liked number 30.


Four cabins are available here as well. Number one is right on the lake.


There is a swimming area that I used as a giant bathtub. The water was surprisingly warm.


On Friday I went for a drive to a strange looking rock.


That would be Devil's Tower National Monument.


I didn't know they had a campground here but they do. A nice one with 46 sites and free firewood.


There is a trail that loops around the tower so I hiked it to get some different views.

Devils-Tower-Trail Devils-Tower-3 Devils-Tower-4 Devils-Tower-8

There is an Indian legend about the tower.

Eight children were out playing. Seven sisters and their brother. Suddenly the boy started twitching and turned into a bear. The sisters freaked out and started running, with the bear chasing after them. A tree told them to start climbing it and as they did it rose into the sky. The frustrated bear reared against the tree, it's long claws ripping into the bark. The seven sisters continued to rise into the sky and became the seven stars of the Big Dipper.

Except they are not actually bear claw marks. About 50 million years ago molten magma was forced into sedimentary rocks above and cooled underground. As it cooled it it contracted and fractured into columns. Millions of years erosion of the sedimentary rock exposed Devil's Tower.

I prefer the first version myself. Here is a close-up of the tower.



On Sunday I headed to Curt Gowdy State Park near Cheyenne. On the way there I found this store.


That would be a Sierra Trading Post Outlet Store. A dangerous place for campers to visit. Especially for their wallets.

I continued on.


I found a good spot and set up camp, South Causeway number 97.


Then came the clouds.


Followed by the rain. I went into my car.


And spent a couple of hours reading until the storm passed.


My firewood stayed dry in the back of my car so I was able to have a fire and watch the sunset.

Curt-Gowdy-Campfire Curt-Gowdy-Sunset-1

I noticed something streaking through the sky.


Probably a UFO or a missile.


On Monday I checked out the park.

There are at least 15 campgrounds spread around two lakes, Granite and Crystal. The largest has around 20 sites, the smallest just two. Here are some of my favorite ones, besides my own.

South Causeway number 112. A tent-only site with a private beach.


Tumbleweeds number 27. Has electricity.


Granite Point number 147.


Twin Lakes Creek number 170. Has electricity.


There are a few dozen sites that take reservations and have electricity.

Oh, and on Monday night it did not rain. Yippee!

Getting back to E.T. and the Prairie Puppies, I swear I saw several aliens crawling around on the side of Devil's Tower. If you look close you can see them.

ET-3 ET-2

Maybe they saw the movie and were just trying to phone home.

Near the base of the tower is a big open field. I noticed several creatures popping up and down like a jack in the box. I stopped to investigate.

Prairie Puppies!

Must have been hundreds. Fat ones and thin ones.

Dog-1 Dog-3

They make a yipping sound which is probably how they got their name. I tried to imitate it but all I got was a dirty look.


So I left. Embarrassed and with my tail between my legs.

Regards, Park Ranger


We enjoyed meeting you at Keyhole! You have a great job. :) Enjoy reading your blog about your travels.

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