Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Little ‘Planned’ Sightseeing

Thurs Aug 18th – We had a short day of driving planned from Casper to Sundance, in the northwest corner of Wyoming. Sundance is famous for, among other things, the Sundance Kid. They had a quaint downtown with a s.mall history museum……free…...



What we were really interested in was Devil’s Tower, just 30 minutes west of Sundance. For anyone who has seen the 1978 (has it been that long ago?) movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, this is instantly recognizable …….


It stands out from a distance…a solitary structure ….distinct form the surrounding mountains……


And, up close, it calls to you……


Devil’s Tower was formed 50 million years ago when molten magma was forced up through sedimentary rock, becoming a volcanic cone under the ground. As it cooled, it contracted and fractured into columns. Over millions of years, erosion of the sedimentary rocks exposed Devil’s Tower.


The Tower rises 867 feet from its base and stands 1,267 feet above the river. The area of its top is 1.5 acres. The diameter of its base is 1,000 feet.


The Kiowa Indians tell another story of the Tower’s origin. They say that a great bear chased 7 young girls. As they ran, they came to the stump of a great tree. The tree spoke to them and told them to climb upon it. They did…and the tree stump began to rise into the air. The bear came to kill them, but the 7 young girls were just beyond its reach. In frustration, the great bear reared against the tree and scratched and clawed the tree’s bark all around. The 7 girls were borne into the sky, becoming the stars of the Pleiades and the tree stump became the Devil’s Tower.

In 1906, Present Theodor Roosevelt named Devil’s Tower the first National Monument. Today, people come to hike around the base, or to rock climb the fractured columns……if you look carefully, you can see the climbers in the upper, right corner of this picture.



We were content to hike…..and to sit in the shadow of this amazing formation and to feel its ‘otherworldly’ energy.

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