A much better monument than the one I’d just visited, the Lion King-esque rock much more dignified and magnificently naturally carved. It definitely reminded me of Pride Rock, just missing the mandrill and lion cub.
I took the Red Beds trail first, leading out around the tower through a stunning array of color. Sage plants, pink flowers, neon-yellow and lime grass, toasted red dirt.
And on top of that, a river winding through the never-ending green farmland far below. I began to really like Wyoming as I looked out over all that.
The short trail around the base of the tower was much more crowded, with loud, rude tourists as usual. Although, I got a good look at the hexagonal and octagonal pillars forming the tower, as well as the insane climbers that dotted the peak far, far above.
Up at the top, a man in a blue jacket was peering down in my direction. I stopped and looked up at him too, wondering what I looked like from up there and if he could tell I could see him too. But I wandered on, and stayed at the nearby campground with a stunning sunrise view of the tower the next morning.
A note for trip planners: at 2:00pm, there was a ridiculous stopped like at the gate to get into this monument. Get there early!