It was a short night, let me tell you. Just before 5 we were awakened by lightning and thunder. Counting seconds I concluded that the storm was far and getting further. This judgment came from a guy who has lived in California for the last 7 years, a place where thunderstorms are about as frequent as double-headed pigs. So when I stuck my head out of the tent minutes later I saw a remarkably yellow, cloudy sky. Obviously, the sun was trying to show itself, and was failing miserably at that. At this time, the campground guests could be put into three rough categories: the first were sleeping, or at least trying to, and were rather firm about that. The second group was frantically running around the campsite, packing their tents before the big storm. The third category was running frantically around the cam site, scrambling to find the photo equipment and take some pictures. We were in the last category.
We got into the car and left the campground, set the camera on a tripod, and set the exposure to long, in hope for a lightning picture. Unfortunately the lightning illuminated the scenery rather evenly, so we ended up with some overall over exposed pictures. But that didn't matter anymore, as at this time it was raining heavily, the winds were high, and hail was falling from the sky with quite some determination. So we got back into the car, looked for our waterproof jackets, and headed back to the campsite to pack up.
While Essan was packing up inside the tent, I geared up inside the car, as if readying myself for war of the elements: boots, waterproof jacket and pants. Thus equipped I could move around outside as if nothing, and once Essan took cover in the car, finish packing and dismantle the tent. Minutes later I joined her in the car, and noticed that the Mountain Wear waterproof jacket was not quite as waterproof as my good old Gore-Tex jacket, now probably in Russia. But that's another story.
Nicely soaked we headed out of South Dakota. Once the sky cleared up we unfolded the wet stuff at a rest area and left it to dry, very much to the amusement of other travelers. While Essan was sleeping I cleaned the camera which looked like it just took a mud bath. Once dry we proceeded to the Devils Tower in eastern Wyoming. We pitched the tent without the rain fly, so that it can finish drying and headed to the actual monument for a hike. It looks like all Nat'l Parks are under construction right now, at least so far all which we have visited. Once there we walked around the big rock, once, then once again with the 645 camera which I didn't take with me on the first loop. At that time, though, lightning could be observed and young children were scared by the thunder. Unimpressed by this measly display by mom nature we completed another loop around the rock, getting somewhat wet of course. At that time what mattered most to us was the tent without a rain fly of course, which we found to be safe, even if pooped upon by the birds. Rain fly on. Somewhere in the direct vicinity a woodpecker continued hammering it's head against a tree.
After dinner I visited the campground facilities. Outside I saw a couple of young girls looking at a butterfly. It was one of these giant night butterflies, with huge hairy bodies and an impressive wing span. It was sitting in front of the restroom, readying for flight. It was there long enough for me to go get the camera, minus one minute, so together with others we could only see it fly into the skies. About two seconds into flight a bird shot out of the sky and started going after the butterfly. It looked like an F-18 going after a WW1 double-decker plane, but at least for as long as we could see, David was victorious over
As if we didn't have enough, we walked around the Devils Tower once more before sunset. Or more precisely, I walked and shot pictures, while Essan sat down and started drawing. At that point I was ready for bed, having slept only 5 hours the night before.