Monday, September 3, 2012

Devils Tower, WY

view from Tower Trail - 1.3 mile trail around the base

Devils Tower, Wyoming. Easily seen for miles on the road to the park, the tower rises 867 feet from the base to the summit, and 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River where we were camped, and is 5,112 feet above sea level. The Tower Trail goes all the way around the base and provides excellent views of the different sides. We saw several climbers on the mountain, some climbing up, some rappelling down - crazy!

Kiowa Legend of tower formation

According to the Native American tribes of the Kiowa and Lakota Sioux, some girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. (Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower.) When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the star constellation the Pleiades.

This picture is the view from our campsite, pretty nice, huh? After camping in commercial campgrounds for a week with full amenities (electricity, water, sewer, laundry, etc.) this was our first 'dry' camping experience this trip. Camping in the National Parks is usually very minimal - a campsite and that is about it - well not exactly... you get wonderful views and peace and quiet and that great 'back to nature' feeling that you forgot about. So nice, this was our favorite campground so far.

Okay, to answer the big question - what about the alien landing? Well, looking at the picture above, I figure the mother ship landed on the right in that flat area. Of course the trees are all grown up now, and we didn't see any evidence, but it has been 35 years after all... but we did see a little boy coming out of the visitor center that looked and acted a lot like the little boy Barry... he was still the same age too, spooky!

The nearby Devils Tower Trading Post carries a lot of 'alien' souvenirs like this one!

This sign was posted near the campground - do you know what it means? Well being blond I thought it meant wi-fi. It actually means amphitheatre - but as I was walking by, a family was standing there and the son asked the father what it meant - the father very seriously said it means this is the site of the first alien landing...

Besides being the site of the first alien landing, Devils Tower is an awesome place to visit - kind of out of the way and very far from anywhere, but if you are traveling out I-90 in Wyoming for any reason, definitely worth a stop.

picture album HERE

Wild West Road Trip - day 9
miles today 164/total miles 2072
Devils Tower CG
Devils Tower, WY
temp lo 52/hi 82
elevation 5112