On our way from Michigan to Montana, we decided to take a side trip to Devil’s Tower National Monument. The SaraLinda was up for it so we gassed up with the big boys and headed across the midwest cornfields on I-80.
When we made it to South Dakota and I-90, Barb actually took over and drove the SL for the first time. She made about an hour of clenched teeth driving before she turned it back over to me. We needed a rest before we made it to Devil’s Tower, so of course, it was “Wall Drug or Bust”. It was HOT to say the least. Our temp gauge registered a high of 110 but we couldn’t get a pic quick enough but we caught it at 109.
After our night in Wall, we headed to Wyoming, which meant Devil’s Tower couldn’t be far. We pulled the SaraLinda into our campground and boy were we surprised at the incredible view our View had. We looked directly up at Devil’s Tower from the campground.
The campground does a somewhat cheesy but ultimately very cool thing each night. With Devil’s Tower as the backdrop, they show Close Encounters of the Third Kind on an outside big screen TV. Barb and I still remember seeing it for the first time back in November, 1977. This time was pretty special given the environs. What was really fun was seeing families watching it for the first time.
After watching the movie, we headed up the mountain to Devil’s Tower to try out the camera on a night shot. Lots of trial and error, but we got a couple of pretty good shots of a moonrise along with the tower and stars. Many thanks to Keith Mitchell, John Woody and Don Henderson, my photography gurus for helping me figure all this out. Turned out great I think. Afterward, it was back to the SL and our oh so appropriate nightlight (make sure to see the pic in the attached movie 😉
The next morning we got up before dawn to see if we could capture a sunrise on the tower. We found a family of deer as we climbed back up the hill. The buck was really watching out for everyone. We ended up hiking Joyner Trail to get some great photos of sunrise and how it hit Devil’s Tower.
After getting shots along Joyner Ridge Trail, we headed to the tower to hike the Tower Trail that circles the entire Devil’s Tower. It is truly awe inspiring to walk it. We saw ten climbers scaling the columns that make up the tower. We even heard their grunts and screams…. eeeeeek!
Devil’s Tower is a sacred place to many Native Americans. In June, climbers are not allowed on the tower. Tribes connected to the tower come and place prayer cloths on trees around the tower, conduct ceremonial dances and more. You can see the prayer cloths everywhere as you circle the tower. The Native American Lakota Sioux (great grandmother on my dad’s side) in me made visiting here very special. Must do more research when I get a chance.
We encountered lots of wildlife as we hiked the trail. From a squirrel stretching on a log to two fawns playing just off the path. The night before we saw a fox and a zillion prairie dogs.
There are so many incredible views as you hike around Devil’s Tower. You can even see the valley where the spaceships came in the movie CE3K. I highly encourage anyone heading near this area to stop and take the hikes around Devil’s Tower. If you can, spend the night at the campground at the base of the tower and watch the movie as well. We hope you enjoy the slide show movie of our journey to Devil’s Tower. Road trips ROCK!