Off bright and early. When I came out of the sparkling clean bathroom in the morning, I startled a deer that was standing outside the door. Sorry pal, only for paying customers… Next stop, Devils Tower. It was originally not on the agenda, but once you start looking at maps, you figure it’s not too far off the trail… The kids and wife are too young to know the supreme significance of Devils Tower. So I have to explain it to them. “Well, you see, Richard Dreyfus makes a pile of mashed potatoes…and there’s aliens…and I guess that’s about all I remember. But we should go there anyway.”
As we head into Wyoming, it flattens out and looks pretty barren.
Pretty much grass and sheep.
Until all of a sudden:
Completely out of nowhere. It looks like a large tree stump, but any fool would know an igneous intrusion when he sees it. Names given by local tribes include Aloft on a Rock , Bear’s House, Bear’s Lair, Home of bears, Bear’s Lodge, Bear’s Tipi, Tree Rock, Grizzly Bear Lodge, and Butte Plug. It is only through a misinterpretation that the name became Devils Tower (no apostrophe) in English.
Here at the checkpoint, you must submit to a search. They don’t want you taking any sort of harmonica, keyboard, glockenspie, or electronic Simon that might summon any aliens.
There’s a paved trail around the base of the tower. It’s about a mile long. There are some nice rockfalls and some killer trees. Yeah, killer trees.
Along the way, if you look carefully, you will see people climbing the side of the tower. With the amount of debris and rocks piled at the bottom, this doesn’t seem a particularly good idea.
The natives of the area have an interesting story as to how the tower came to look this way. A bear was chasing some girls, who prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. The Great Spirit made the rock rise toward the sky, the bears clawed the side, forming the lines in the tower, and then the girls were turned into stars. The ending is not exactly “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
As luck would have it, my phone can play a bit of a tune. I broke out “Come Sail Away” and look who showed up…
Lots of fun and definitely worth the stop. But our next stop is still many hours away. First we cross the Bighorn Mountains.
And then we level back out as we head into Cody. There was just something about this scene and the clouds that I really liked.
We got to Cody a little later than we had hoped, so we missed the gunfight, rodeo, and Buffalo Bill Cody museum (which is supposed to be good). Got a bite to eat and the wife sampled a bison burger. Said she wouldn’t have known by the taste that it wasn’t regular beef. And that is the magic of bacon.