no matter where you go, there you are

Sunday, March 13, 2011

tower of the devil

Along our way across the grand state of Wyoming, we stopped at Devils Tower National Monument. Residing in the Northeast corner of the state, we arrived mid-morning after departing from the Black Hills. Devils Tower is one of those really astounding natural landforms that really makes you wonder how in the freaking world it got there. Surrounded by low, low hills, Devils Tower is a very prominent fixture in the area.
Winding up the hill to the "base" of the tower, there was a prairie dog village to stop by. The lil creatures were quite cute and I could only imagine what their labyrinth of tunnels must look like underground. After parking we checked out the teeny museum where it explains the geological history of the "Tower" and where it's name came from. Originally, the Native Americans gave it a name that related to a bear, but it was an 19th century expedition leader who changed its name due to a misinterpretation of the multiple Native American terms.
All around the base are massive rock fields, some larger than others, yet all were so tempting to climb. There was a sign saying rock climbing was forbidden past a certain point, and I completely mis-interpreted it. I thought they meant all the rocks, not just the vertical ones leading to the top that you need a permit and rock climbing gear etc. for. So we "sneakily" climbed on them as we took the short hiking path around the base. It was a lot of fun.

As the morning progressed, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. It was really beautiful and we took our time appreciating every angle we could get of the miraculous, monstrous geological formation.
A neat thing to see was climbers shimmying their way up the sides of this thing. I don't know how they were doing it, but it was crazy watching them make their way to the top.
As we completed the loop trail, we saw lots of people climbing on the "front" boulder field. There was even a Ranger down below watching all the people exploring. Here, I reread the "climbing is forbidden" and saw how I totally misunderstood it before. You could climb up until the tree line, then it became "permit-only" hiking. So we took off our flip flops, and Molly in her sweatshirt and leggings and me and in my Old Navy sundress swiftly climbing the large, very rectangular, rocks. We made it to the top quickly and another hiker we passed even complimented us on our skill with lack of footwear. We took some time at the top to look out at the view and I tried to comprehend the natural wonder of this place. The boulder field was great to look at and it was a fantastic place to be.

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