17 June 2006

Devil's Tower Part One

Yesterday (June 16th) we moved to the Devil’s Tower area. We are staying at a park right at the entrance to the National Monument. Devil’s Tower (known to the Lakota as Mato Tipila Baha, or Bear Lodge Mountain, most Native Languages refer to the Tower as Bear Lodge, Bear’s Den, or something of the sort) was the first National Monument. There is a ton of totally awesome information about the history and culture here: http://www.nps.gov/deto/index.htm

After setting down and setting up we drove into the park to have a look around. We stopped and took a few minutes at the visitor’s center, then walked the 1.3-mile hike around the Tower. It’s not really a hike, mostly a nice walk with a couple of up slopes. Along the walk Bill had the opportunity to take some really nice pictures of Devil’s Tower. The 1.3-mile walk is called Tower Trail and is truly a beautiful walk. You are taken through a Ponderosa Pine forest and through some of the boulders that fell off Devil’s Tower over 100 years ago. I saw a butterfly as big as my outstretched hand and bright yellow land on a purple flower. We saw a baby Jackrabbit run from its den out to munch on some grass, then run back. We also saw this little guy just sitting on the trail waiting for us to get out of his way.

Along with spectacular views of the Tower there are also wonderful views of the valleys below. You can’t really tell from this view picture, but there is a huge amount of red-rock in this area. The red rock against the kelly green of the grass is so awesome. We took some pictures today that might show that, but we’ll have to wait and see. There are some areas on the hills where rain has washed away the grass to expose the red rock, but it looks like the hills are bleeding. It's as if a giant animal has raked its claws down the hillside, it’s just wild.

At the end of our adventuring we went to the Amphitheatre to listen to a talk being given by Leonard Littlefinger. Mr. Littlefinger is a Lakota Sioux from the Pineridge Reservation who came to talk about the significance of Mato Tipila. It was a shame he didn’t have more time to talk. They gave him only about an hour and you could tell by listening to him that he had so much more to say and to share.

All in all it was a great day, and this is a beautiful area. I’m looking forward to sharing more images as we have them. I’ll have more to share after I download the stuff from today.