I can’t believe I didn’t think of this spot earlier; my mom will be so excited to see this! 🙂 It might be cheating, since this is a place I’ve actually been to, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of some much-deserved exposure! You’d think with its scenic beauty, rich mythology, and a big movie-mention under its belt, this location would get a little more love, and yet it remains relatively unknown. But I guess that’s really a reason to be grateful, seeings as the most remote and unspoiled of nature’s creations are oftentimes the most worth seeing.
So here comes the unveiling of The Zebu’s November 1st location:
Devil’s Tower, Wyoming:
That’s right, and we didn’t even have to leave the USA.
Devils Tower is a monolith dramatically looming 1267 feet above an otherwise flat terrain. Now an officially recognized national monument, Devils Tower is an object of fascination for painters, photographers, hikers, rock climbers, geologists and curious tourists from all over the country. A major point of interest when it comes to the tower is the method of formation. There are a lot of different theories, but for the most part scientists will tell you that Devils Tower is the partially-eroded remains of a laccolith, which is “a mass of igneous rock formed form magma that did not find its way to the surface but spread laterally into a lenticular body, forcing overlying strata to bulge upward”. Basically, a dome formed by layers of sedimentary rock. But that’s a pretty boring explanation for something as stand-out as Devils Tower, which is why I prefer the mythological telling of the story, as shared by the Native American tribes who revere the tower as a more spiritual entity.
There are many different versions of the story, but they all follow a similar thread. Some girls from the tribe were out playing when they came across a hungry bear. The girls ran, but the bear gave chase. The girls scrabbled up onto a rock and began to pray to the Great Spirit, asking to be saved. The Great Spirit acquiesced and caused the rock beneath their feet to grow taller and taller, rising up towards the sky. The bear refused to give up, attempting to scramble up after them and raking at the rock, leaving behind the deep grooves that have gained the Tower so much recognition. In some stories, the rock kept rising until the girls found themselves among the stars, becoming the constellation that is now known as the Pleiades.
The areas immediately surrounding the Tower offer some pretty breath-taking views, too. The beautiful Belle Fourche river snakes its way by, and stunning red rock formations, rolling hills and forests weave their way around the Tower’s base.
If you happen to ever consider taking a trip, I would strongly recommend you check out staying here: http://www.devilstowerlodge.com/. It’s run by Frank Sanders, a sixty-something product of the hippie generation who owns the inn and guides visitors on rock-climbing exploits on the tower. He was the first to put up an impressive amount of routes on the Tower, as well as the man who put together Project 365, in which he summited the tower every day for at least two years straight in order to raise money for neighboring American Indian tribes. He’s an incredibly vibrant person with some incredible stories; definitely a man worth meeting.
So there you go, your destination of the week. 🙂 Enjoy!
– Amy B