Close Encounters at Devils Tower National Monument – Road Trip Day 3 Ep.3

Lex sez:

We left Gillette, Wyoming early in the morning after a quick breakfast and headed out on the Interstate 90 heading east.  There was a bit of cloudiness when we first started out, but once we headed up Highway 14 the horizon began to clear.  Then we turned on Highway 24 and the sight we were waiting for appeared.

Seeing Devils Tower on the horizon is amazing.  Neek, Sar and I pulled over once we saw a turn-out and got out to get a better view.  There is something other-worldly about seeing, in the midst of the rolling forest and hills, this humungous geological formation raised so tall above everything around it.  We got back in the car; excited about how close we were getting to this wonder.

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As we drove closer, we came across another sight we had to stop for.  There was a wide grassy field filled with prairie dogs appropriately called Prairie Dog Town.  They were so cute!  They made funny little high-pitched squeaks and boy, did they love to eat!

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Driving into the parking lot of the Visitor Center at Devils Tower National Monument, we really got a sense of just how towering it really is.

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It really is an overwhelming, and as I said many times on the video, awe-inspiring spectacle!  After standing around gaping and gabbing about it, I found out that the Tower Trail around the perimeter of Devils Tower was 1.3 miles, or 2 kilometers, walking distance.  Neek took Sar over to the Visitor Center while I set out on the trail.

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This might be the most memorable solo hike I’ve been on.  Since it was just after 9am, I really felt like I had the place to myself.  There were only a few other hikers I passed, and the other people I saw were specks bravely climbing the Tower.  It is truly incredible to stand underneath it and view them slowly ascend the cracks in the Tower, which has such amazing tints of green that I never noticed in pictures!

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There were a number of other amazing sights at ground level too.  Tower Trail is filled with decorative bundles and cloths wrapped to the bushes and trees lining the path.  These are Native American prayer offerings, so there were signs on the trail warning hikers to be respectful and not move or touch them.

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There’s plenty of wildlife in the area to see.  In addition to chipmunks and beautiful birds, I was lucky enough to see a deer walking around.  One other spectacular sight along the trail is the view of the Belle Fourche River.  It’s like something out of a John Ford movie.

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When I circled around the path, Neek was already coming up the trail to meet me.  I showed her some of the amazing natural sights, as well as the signs detailing the amazing facts about Devils Tower: the uplift occurred some 50 to 60 million years ago when magma intruded into sedimentary rock layers.  It rises up 1,267 feet (386 meters) above the Belle Fourche River, and stands 867 feet (265 meters) from summit to base and is 5,112 feet (1,559 meters) above sea level.

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When we finished our breathtaking self-guided tour, Neek and I walked back to the Visitor Center where Sar was waiting near our car.  The Visitor Center is decorated with plenty of beautiful pictures and memorabilia about the first U.S. National Monument designated by President Theodore Roosevelt on September 24, 1906.

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There is a gift shop filled with items commemorating the 40th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which prominently featured Devils Tower.

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After buying a postcard to send to a friend who raves about Devils Tower, we headed off to the car to set off for our next adventure.  But before turning on the ignition, we sat there just drinking in the amazing sight for another five minutes.  Seriously, if you haven’t been, put this on your bucket list.  It is like nothing else on Earth!

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3 thoughts on “Close Encounters at Devils Tower National Monument – Road Trip Day 3 Ep.3

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