We left Rapid City and pointed the coach westward toward Wyoming, the home of Devils Tower.
After leaving the interstate at Wyoming 24 then 110, we proceeded through the rolling hills toward our destination. Eventually, the tower appeared on the horizon as a small rock that would grow larger with each mile we drove.
Checking into the Belle Fourche River Campground, we relaxed for the rest of the evening. The campground has two loops. The "A" loop is closed due to Prairie Dogs deciding to inhabit the area. The price was right at $6.00 / night with the "old farts" pass. We stayed for five days.
Near the entrance to the campground is artwork called the Circle of Sacred Smoke by Japenese artist Junkyu Moto for the Native Americans of the area. It represents the smoke from a newly lit pipe.
Looking through the Circle of Sacred Smoke, Devils Tower is in sight.
Each of these mounds represent tunnels fifteen feet deep and thirty feet in length. But they do not provide total safety from predators such as snakes.
There was one prairie dog that allowed me to come within about three to four feet of her. No chattering, no fear...just a "hello" and we watched each other.
I had told John that it was my plan to walk around the base of Devils Tower. He decided to remain near the visitor's center. The approach to the Tower path is a killer if you are not accustomed to walking steep grades. I made it and just at that time felt that I had accomplished a milestone.
The walk around the tower is astounding. Each step seems to provide a different scene to leave one in awe.
The Native Americans consider this place to be holy ground. You find prayer "cloths" on tree branches along the circumference of the base. I found myself wondering if the different colors of cloth had a significant meaning. I found one that was especially intreguiging. There were many cloths wound in a circle then tied to a string. Behind it was stems of grass with seed heads.
There were three teams of climbers on the Tower. One, I saw made it to the top. I sure wish I were young enough to try.
Our campground is down there! Way down there!!!
Here is another shot of the tower I took as I walked the circumference of the Tower. It is STILL a long way up there!
If you look closely, you can see just above the trees on the right is a group of climbers. They are in a university leadership class training to be our leaders of tomorrow.
Learning communication skills, goal setting and teamwork are essential to being a great leader. Do you see on the far right an near the top of the photograph one team member talking to the next who is being to climb as the rest await their opportunity.
We were fortunate enough to have this group across the road from our campsite. And I was fortunate enough to be walking the base as they were climbing.
|Another view from the trail|
|Up and up and up|
|Isn't this beautiful!|
The Belle Fourche River
When I arrive back at the visitor's center, I cannot find John. I look in the center, in the covered area used for viewing the tower and in the Miata.....no John. I sit and wait for an hour with each passing minute providing more and more anxiety.
I finally decide that he is neither in the men's rest room nor on the longer hike. That crazy man has decided to follow me on the hike. Soooo, again I go up and up. When I reach the spot that marks the beginning and end of the trail I choose to start at the end of the trail hoping I can find him faster that way.
Finally, about half way around, I locate him....he says he never thought to leave me a note. oooooo, I could have strangled him! It took him two full days of rest to recuperate.
We returned to the coach and look what greeted us....from afar! There were also Long Horn Cattle.
And then there is John getting a view from his throne! I hope he was happier than he looks here. I think he was totally worn out.
Thanks for visiting and may God bless each of you.
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