May 2015 Kathy Is Off To Visit The Devils Tower
Did You Know? - Devils Tower near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County , northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 5,114 feet (1,559 m) above sea level.
Only 131 miles from Mount Rushmore!
1,269 miles from Los Angeles
Wide open country!
In the wide open country!
Did You Know? - Sundance (Lakota: "Sun-Watching Dance") is a town in and the county seat of Crook County, Wyoming, United States.
The population was 1,182 at the 2010 census. The town is named for the Sun Dance ceremony practiced by several Native American Indian tribes.
Sundance's average temperature in the day is a mere 52 degrees in May
The highway to the tower on a dry summer day...
When the sun it out... It is magnificent!
Did You Know The Legends Behind The Tower? -
Devils Tower, also known as Mato Tipila, which means "Bear Lodge" in Lakota, is a volcanic neck that rises 1,267 feet from the Black Hills in northeastern Wyoming. It was the very first national monument in the United States, bestowed that designation by Teddy Roosevelt on September 24th, 1906. In recent years around one percent of the 400,000 annual visitors actually climbs the tower. We'll get to how you do that in a later article.
Long before the tower was being recognized by the American government, Native tribes had geographical and cultural connections to it. They called it everything from 'Aloft on a Rock' (Kiowa) to 'Grizzly Bear Lodge' (Lakota). It wasn't given its demonic name until Col. Richard Irving Dodge led an expedition through Wyoming in 1875. His interpreter botched the translation, calling it 'Bad God's Tower', which was eventually shortened to Devils Tower.
There are two great legends regarding the tower and the unusual looking columns that bear a striking resemblance to claw marks. It's no surprise that both the stories, from the Lakota Sioux and the Kiowa, involve a similar narrative. In the Lakota Sioux legend, six girls were out picking flowers when they were attacked and chased by bears. The Great Spirit felt bad for them, and raised the ground beneath their feet. The bears gave chase and attempted to climb the newly formed tower, but they couldn't get to the top. The bears fell off, clawing the sides of the monolith.
The Kiowa legend follows a similar storyline but includes astrology as well. Seven little Kiowa girls were out playing, spotted by several giant bears, and were chased. The girls prayed to the Great Spirit, and sure enough the ground rose beneath them towards the Heavens. The bears tried to climb the rock but only managed to leave their deep claw marks on the sides. The girls reached the sky and were turned into the constellation Pleiades.
It Was A Wet May Day When Kathy Arrived
Kathy invites us for a tour of the Devils Tower
Great picture for Halloween!
Zipping along the local freeway
Sticking up right out of the ground
Flat on top!
The Visitors Center welcomed everybody
Did You Know? - Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Monument's boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres
The center is at an elevation of 4,250 feet already
The flag was at half-staff because of the Chattanooga church bombing incident
What happened in 1941?
Did You Know? - In October 1941, Devil's Tower made the national news when on October 1, 1941, a stunt parachutist, George Hopkins, parachuted to the top of the tower. The jump was made pursuant to a $50.00 bet with Earl Brockelsby, the owner of the "Reptile Gardens" in Rapid City.
The Reptile Gardens featured Rattleshankes including a pet rattlesnake that Brockelsby kept in his hat and allowed tourists to pet. The first word that something was about to happen was Sunday, September 28 that a telephone call to the Sundance Times that something unusual was going on at the Monument.
The newspaper editor drove to the monument and found Hopkins and an airplance. She was told that because permission had not been obtained from the National Park Service monument superintendent Newell Joyner, the paper should not inform anyone until the stunt had been completed.
Because of a broken wheel, the plance, however, could not complete the stunt that day. Allegedly, jump by the five-foot four inch, 115 lb. Hopkins would provide needed publicity for a Rapid City Junior Chamber of Commerce parachute event scheduled for October 12 in which Hopkins was to be featured.
Hopkins had planned to come down using a 1/2 inch, 1000 ft. rope which he planned to tie to a Ford axle to be driven into the rocks with a sledge hammer. Fortunately, the drop of the rope, sledge hammer, and axle missed, fortunately, because it turned out that the rope would have been too short.
Hopkins was marooned on the top of the tower. When Hopkins' plight was learned national radio and press reporters gathered at the Tower. National newspapes and magazines such as Time Magazine reported on Hopkins' plight.
Let's Go For A Short Walk Around The Mountain
Time for a walk?
Did You Know? - The first known ascent of Devils Tower by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. They completed this first ascent after constructing a ladder of wooden pegs driven into cracks in the rock face. A few of these wooden pegs are still intact and are visible on the tower when hiking along the 1.3-mile (2.1 km) Tower Trail at Devils Tower National Monument.
Kathy follows the rules!
Great signage tells the stories
Did You Know? - Tribes including the Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone had cultural and geographical ties to the monolith before non-Native Americans reached Wyoming. Their names for the monolith include:
Aloft on a Rock (Kiowa),
Bear's House (Cheyenne, Crow),
Bear's Lair (Cheyenne, Crow),
Daxpitcheeaasáao, "Home of bears" (Crow) ,
Bear's Lodge (Cheyenne, Lakota),
Bear's Lodge Butte (Lakota),
Bear's Tipi (Arapaho, Cheyenne),
Tree Rock (Kiowa), and
Grizzly Bear Lodge (Lakota).
Devil's or Devils?
Did You Know? - The name Devil's Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Col. Richard Irving Dodge when his interpreter misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God's Tower, which then became Devil's Tower. All information signs in that area use the name "Devils Tower", following a geographic naming standard whereby the apostrophe is eliminated.
Amazing rock structure
The theories on how it was formed are many!
Three possibilities are provided to visitors
Did You Know?
From its base, Devils Tower is more than four football fields tall.
The tower is made up of mostly hexagonal columns, but some have as few as four or as many as seven sides.
Devils Tower was the first National Monument in the United States – declared as such in 1906 by President Teddy Roosevelt.
In that proclamation signed by Roosevelt, the apostrophe in "Devil's" was mistakenly left out, so the form signed by the president named the monument "Devils Tower," with no apostrophe. The typo was never corrected and the spelling stuck.
The small, colored bundles of cloth that are often seen around the base of Devils Tower are sacred offerings left by American Indian tribes. The tower is a cultural and religious focal point for several different tribes.
Because of it's cultural significance to American Indians, a voluntary rock climbing closure is in effect every June.
No guide is required to climb the tower, but all rock climbers must register at the ranger station both before and immediately after attempting to climb the tower.
More than 150 rock climbing routes have been established on Devils Tower.
The top of the tower was first reached by two local cowboys who constructed a wooden ladder system and attached it to the side of the tower. Remnants of the wooden ladder can still be seen on the side of the formation.
- Things the National Park Service warns climbers they might encounter on the tower: snakes, spiny plants, poison ivy, falcon attacks, wasps, and falling rocks.
Erosion causes some of the rock to fall to the base of the mountain
Fall where they may!
The base gets bigger as the rocks fall off the mountain
Exposed by the environment
Did You Know? - Devils Tower did not visibly protrude out of the landscape until the overlying sedimentary rocks eroded away. As the elements wore down the softer sandstones and shales, the more resistant igneous rock making up the tower survived the erosional forces. As a result, the gray columns of Devils Tower began to appear as an isolated mass above the landscape.
Miles and miles of miles and miles
Super area for cattle
Cattle are still raised in the area
Many Indian tribes occupied the area
Look out below!
The train provided some unique views
Well maintained path... Stay on it!
"Look out... Here I Come"
Down in the valley... The valley so low!
Not a bad way to see the mountain
Did You Know? - Hiking trails are approximately 8 miles (12.1 km) through the Monument. The popular 1.3 mile (2 km) paved Tower Trail circles Devils Tower itself. Other longer trails traverse tranquil forests and meadows in the Monument.
Oops... something fell off!
Not a good idea to be under it!
The path is quite peaceful
Water and ice do their work!
"Come on Kathy!"
The rangers take care of the trails
Did You Know? - The circumference of the base of the Tower is 1 mile. The Tower Trail is 1 3/10 mile.
Let's go to the top! Oops, this is half way so....
Did You Know? - The top of the mountain is approximately 1 1/2 acres, about 200 ft. by 400 ft ... or about the size of a football field. The summit is slightly dome shaped and rocky, with native grasses, cactus, and sagebrush. Chipmunks, mice, pack rats and the occasional snake are found on top.
Time of ascent depends on skill, route difficulty, and the number of climbers in the group. The average time for two climbers to climb the Durrance Route (the easiest) is between 4-6 hours. It takes about one to two hours to rappel down.
Half way is good!
"This here is a rock"
Did You Know? - How often do the columns fall?- There have been no major falls since we have a history of it (200 years).
Full of wildlife... Especially when the bar opens!
The bar just closed!
It did NOT make a sound because no one was around!
It walks at night
The surrounding land is beautiful... Even in a light rain
Trails seem to be everywhere
Back To The Car And Heading To Our Next Destination
Did You Know? - Prairie falcons sometimes nest in the cracks of Devils Tower. Climbing routes near the nest are closed until the young falcons fledge.
Heading down the highway
You ought to be in the movies.... Oh, I was!
Did You Know? - The structure, known as Devils Tower, is recognizable to anyone who has seen Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In the climax of the film, several characters — who have been so unknowingly obsessed with the structure that they have sculpted it in mashed potatoes and repeatedly sketched it — descend on Devils Tower, where they greet a gargantuan alien mother ship
Mother Nature is quite amazing
The varmints are saying goodbye and next time bring peanuts!
A parting message
Goodbye you little devil!
Here comes the rain! Just in time!
SOUND: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind