Sacred Devils Tower

Remember this from the 1977 “Close Encounters” movie?

Close up shot of the columnar structure. Each “column” is about 8 feet across!

The Devils Tower is a sacred site to Native Americans and is an NPS National
Monument. Located in the Black Hills of northeastern Wyoming, this remarkable geologic butte stands nearly 900 feet tall from it base to the top. The rock is igneous and was formed when the molten lava intruded into layers of sedimentary rocks. Those rocks weathered away, leaving the Devils Tower that we see today.

There is interesting history of both the geology of the tower, as well as the history of human involvement of the site. This was the first National Monument, so designated ten years before the National Park Service was founded. Study the Devils Tower website for details about the park, its history and current covid restrictions.

We visited Devils Tower back in 2015.

My thoughts after returning to Indiana

We don't see this in Indiana

We don’t see this in Indiana

Sher and I just got back from a fairly quick trip from Seattle to Indiana. We had spent the last three months in the Pacific Northwest, but were wanting to return to Indiana and family for the holiday season. It had been an intersting time, including our trip out to Seattle (mostly on I-90) and the return trip (mostly on I-80).

The trip back to Indiana took us down through Oregon on I-5. We then hooked up to I-80 south of Yuba City, California. Then it was across Nevada, the Utah panhandle, across southern Wyoming, then through Nebraska and on into Iowa, Missouri, finally across Illinois to pick up I-74 to Indiana.

Some musings of mine when we got back home again in Indiana: the Hoosier farm fields seemed so small compared to the ones out West. Where Indiana fields are measured in acres, the open ranges across Wyoming and Nebraska would be measured in sections. A corn stubble field with a few cattle in Indiana would seem like merely strays when compared to the scores of cattle out west. It was also different when you looked out and did not see any mountains, buttes, or foothills.

Another thing about Indiana: no laws saying that you have to have chains with you like Oregon and other states out west. And I really noticed that things look small in the midwest compared to the big sky you see not only in Montana but other states as well.

It is good to be back “home” for a while, but we are looking forward to our next journey.

 

Mountain driving and Ten Sleep Canyon in Wyoming

The deep gorge of the canyon, looking west from the Highway 16 turnoff.

The deep gorge of the canyon, looking west from the Highway 16 turnoff.

Let me say that Sher and I were amazed at the scenery in Wyoming. Let me also say that the mountain driving in Wyoming on Highway 16 through the Big Horn Mountains was an experience in itself towing our travel trailer. Climbing up to and descending from the Powder River Pass (elevation 9677) was at times a white knuckle affair!

We were heading west from Buffalo, Wyoming on our way to Yellowstone National

Hello from Ten Sleep Canyon

Hello from Ten Sleep Canyon

Park. We had no idea what to expect, just that we knew we were in uncharted waters for a couple of Hoosiers from the flat farm lands of Indiana. This terrain we were seeing was awesome, but the road was a bit scary.

All of the feelings of “Did we really drive that steep curvy mountain road?” slipped away when we got to Ten Sleep Canyon, on the western side of the Big Horn Mountains.

 

 

The stark beauty of the cliffs of the canyon.

The stark beauty of the cliffs of the canyon.

Cliffs that take your breath away.

Cliffs that take your breath away.

This valley was formed by a glacier. The rocks of the canyon are almost vertical in many places, and this area is very popular for rock climbing.  The pictures do not do the canyon justice.