Saturday, July 14, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Scenic Drive

As with many scenic drives, there were numerous opportunities to get out, take pictures and take short hikes.  I stopped at this place because I found it interesting.  Some of the layers that make up the area are composed of coal.  Here, one of the coal seams was ignited by a lightning strike.  It burned slowly for decades until finally going out sometime in the 1970s.  People would bring marshmallows out to cook over the burning coal.

The start of the trail.  The area where the coal burned is in the valley on the left of the picture. 

The coal burned back through this area.  After it burned, the overlying layers settled over the newly open space.  There is another layer of coal that was above the one that burned.  You can't really see it because it is pretty thin, but it is at the top of the grey area in the center of the picture.

 An overlook during the hike.  The drop off on the other side of the tree was pretty severe.

 On of the many coulees in the area.

After getting back in the car, I saw my first bison.  I would see plenty more.

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