Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Deadwood, SD, to Buffalo, WY

The driving trip today was a comfortable 209 miles, and thankfully there were no traumas.  The hardest part was just getting out of the KOA!  The road out was at a more than 10% grade and very narrow.  I made it unscathed, though.  :)

We had decided to hop off of I-90 shortly after crossing into Wyoming, and head a ways north to visit Devils Tower National Monument. 
IMG_8562Devils Tower dominated the horizon as we approached.  As I entered the park, I was asked if I could pull over in a parking area and “car pool” with Pam and Stan as there is very limited RV parking at the Tower.  I did so, and it’s a good thing.  There really is limited parking for RVs.  Even the car parking is limited for a National Park.

Skies were overcast and the sun was not in a good position for pictures, so I didn’t think my photos would turn out very good.

Pam and I decided to try a portion of the Tower Trail.  She has a broken toe, and Stan has back issues, so we weren’t able to do the entire 1.3 mile trail.  The beginning of the trail is very steep, and I was short of breath as we got to the first set of benches.  Since lighting conditions were pretty bad, I wasn’t too interested in continuing, but Pam persuaded me to continue along the trail a little further, and further…  Her foot wasn’t bothering her too bad, so we made it about half way around before we turned back.
During the month of June, the Tower is voluntarily closed to climbing.  The reason for this is that Devils Tower holds spiritual significance to at least seven Native American tribes, and June is  when they hold ceremonies at the tower.  These tribes have always considered this to be a sacred place.  Signs along the trail ask visitors not to disturb the prayer bundles that can be seen in the trees at the base of the tower. 

I can understand why they think this place is sacred.  It is magnificent.  I don’t think climbers should ever be allowed here.  Go find somewhere else to hammer holes into rocks for climbing!  Climbers are not allowed to mess with the great cathedrals of the world, so why should they be allowed to deface this natural cathedral?  Ugh, enough on that.  :(

As we walked along, we noticed that many of the pine trees had big chunks of bark missing low down on the trunks.

It turns out that these are caused by porcupines eating the barks.  Pam wondered if this is how they got their name.  What do you think?  Porcupines….pine bark??  I sure don’t know.

IMG_8583After a little while, there was a break in the clouds that improved picture taking, but you still can’t see the yellow and green hues that are visible in the “columns” of this monolith. 
IMG_8585This is the view from the trail looking out to the land approaching Devils Tower.  I’m thinking, definitely a sacred place…
IMG_8586It’s hard not to take a million pictures of this natural wonder.  :)

The rest of the trip to Buffalo, WY, was wonderfully mundane.  :-)  Snow covered mountains loomed in the distance.  We’ll deal with those tomorrow.  The site at Deer Park Campground was easy to get into, level, not cramped, and set up only took minutes.  Life is good once again.  :)  Tomorrow, we’re on to Cody, WY.

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy   


  1. Thanks for the tour of Devils Tower. We've never been there but I sure want to go now. Your pics today were amazing as usual! Enjoy the rest of your journey, Judy and Emma.

  2. Your Devils Tower pics brought back memories for me. I was there in May of 92 & walked that Tower Trail all way round. The Tower was crawling with climbers at the time. I did not understand why that was allowed. I didn't know about the sacred ceremonies in June but it just didn't feel right that all these young kids were climbing all over it for some reason. Go put a snorkel on & climb up Niagara Falls or something!!

  3. Another spot to add to our list, your pictures turned out good, Hope Emma enjoyed it, Have fun in Wyoming, be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  4. Great photos! I've always wanted to go there but haven't made it yet.


  5. Between you and Margie you two are making our Bucket List very vary long.

    Great tour and pictures... Safe trip

  6. Great photos, and you'll like Cody. Make sure you save enough time for the Buffalo Bill Museum, it is really a group of museums under one roof. And of course the Cody Night Rodeo is a local institution. And then the east entrance to the park, a spectacular drive to an even more entrancing place.

  7. I wonder what the tower was originally called by the Indians. Surely not Devil's tower - that sounds like a white man's fantasy.

  8. Hasn't changed much since last year.

  9. Most people only get to see a far away photo of Devils Tower--yours were up close and personal with lots of detail. The porcupine gnawing was cool too.

  10. Beautiful pics of Devil's Tower!
    We didn't get to go there last year, but we did
    enjoy our stay at Red Rock RV Park last September!
    Came for a few days after the prices at Grizzly RV Park in W. Yellowstone, then stayed 2 weeks!
    It feels like you're living on a ranch, with all of dirt roads around to walk the dog!
    If you see Gordon and Juanita Pierce, tell them we said "HI". His blog is: http://www.mytripjournal.com/USAChevrolet&i=1
    Happy Trails,
    Kathy & Grant Webb

  11. Judy, you surprise me with this kind of comment; "I don’t think climbers should ever be allowed here. Go find somewhere else to hammer holes into rocks for climbing!"

    The climbers don't hammer anything into any rocks; they use cramming devices and have been required to do so for years. I assume you are against any climbing in Yosemite also. This is what the National Park Service has to say about climbing Devils Tower.
    "Most of the routes at Devils Tower are not bolt protected and therefore require an appropriate selection of stoppers and cramming devices in order to safely protect them. The few bolted face climbs that exist were established during the 1980's and early 1990's and the condition of some of the bolts reflect that era."