Tuesday, October 7, 2014


 The Native American Legend of Devils Tower:  


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.

Day one, as always, is a rest day for John after driving any distance.  I took advantage of this by visiting Prairie Dog Town and was greeted by the "gate keeper."                                                         I understand why they describe this as a "town."  Across the expanse of the pain is mound after mound indicating that an entrance to burrow for the chattering critters.  

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 believe that she might have been inviting me to join her. What do you think?
The following day we were off to the Tower.  

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

I love the view while walking

Signs along the way encourage visitors to be quiet, listed to the winds and surrounding sounds of the wildlife.  What I heard was the sounds of people talking and loud laughter. They walked so fast that they could never have enjoyed the visit as much an I. 

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 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.  

 The End

Thanks for visiting and may God bless each of you.  

And thanks for shopping Amazon through this blog.  


  1. The Japenese sculpture is so lovely.

    We didn't get to visit the Tower. Thanks for doing such a great job. It looks so intimidating but beautiful.

    One word....Men!

  2. The Native American name for this natural formation is Bear's Lodge. As you say, it is a sacred place to them and they are not pleased about the rock climbers. Sort of like watching people Saint Patrick's Cathedral or the spire of your home church. I assume you are in the park campground which we really loved. I wonder what they will do about losing an entire loop to Prairie dogs. That's a serious problem since I believe they are protected. Not sure you can "relocate" them. But I don't know how the park will replace the sites in that loop and prairie dogs are quite prolific. They will take over the other loop before you know it. They weren't there when we were in 2011.

  3. When I visited, I found the climbers intrusive on the sacredness of the tower.

  4. Is John sitting in a chair on top of a table? If so, why? If not, why does it look that way? Your pictures are beautiful, my one reservation being the one you labelled as beautiful, which contains too many dead trees for my taste.

    Sounds like you and John need to work on consensus :-)

  5. We drove to the tower, but were pressed for time and didn't do the hike. Since you did it twice, we'll consider you did it for us... :cD

  6. We enjoyed the tower but not that close up. Looks like you had a great time.

  7. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Devil's Tower. It's a special place, just as your blog and pictures show. Those prairie dogs were a kick, too. I bought an embroidery kit of Devil's Tower at the gift shop and it is a good reminder of our time there.

  8. Love the story that goes with the tower. Nice sculpture too.

  9. What an interesting place to spend a few hours. I would have a lot of questions to ask also.

  10. A beautiful, sacred place, that I am very much looking forward to visiting. The different colors of the cloth generally represent the four directions, but I have not seen the bundles before. They're very interesting. The pic of the tower through the sculpture is wonderful :-) Although we worry about our men's health, it is just as likely we are going to kill them first!

  11. Never been there so I appreciate the post with all the pictures. We'll have to put Devils Tower on our list. I like the idea of quietness and observing things while hiking. Though not a birder, I went on a guided walk once and remember the difference in the hike when we went slowly and quietly and looked for birds. It seemed to open up a whole new set of senses. Quite enjoyable.


Thank you for leaving your comment. We do enjoy hearing from you.