Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

The Devils Tower National Monument rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River in Wyoming, near the cities of Sundance and Hulett in Crook County. Its imposing size and unusual formation have astounded all who've seen it rising up above the flat plains and visible for miles around. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument in 1906. He declared the “lofty and isolated rock . . . to be a natural wonder and an object of historic and great scientific interest.”

According to the National Parks Service web site the name Devils Tower came about because "some Indians called it Mato Tipila, meaning Bear Lodge. Other American Indian names include Bear’s Tipi, Home of the Bear, Tree Rock and Great Gray Horn. In 1875, on an expedition led by Col. Dodge, it is believed his interpreter misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God's Tower, later shortened to Devils Tower."

The Devils Tower is a monolithic igneous intrusion, or in other words, volcanic magma which had welled up into the surrounding sedimentary rock, and then became exposed from erosion, although some geologists debate that definition.


All photos can be enlarged if clicked on

On July 4, 1893, local rancher William Rogers became the first person to climb the tower after constructing a ladder of wooden pegs driven into cracks in the rock face. Today, the Devils Tower welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and about 1% of them try to climb to the top of the tower.

The summit of the tower is about 200 ft. by 400 ft, or about the size of a football field, and the circumference of the base of the tower is 1 mile. A bit of trivia about the Devils Tower is that it was used as a location in the movie "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" for the aliens to land their spaceship.


Indigenous Native American tribes have a cultural affiliation with Devils Tower. Many have stories about how the Tower was created and many of the legends are about a bear using its claws to score the Tower's sides. If you look closely at the photo above I think you'll agree that it does look as if a bear's claws have left long scratch marks on it!

It is still used as a place of worship for these tribes. Most of the ceremonies take place in June and are conducted by small groups or individuals who have gathered for prayer, pipe ceremonies, and the tying of prayer cloths and bundles on the surrounding trees. Climbers are asked to voluntarily observe the temporary closure of the tower to climbing during the month of June for this reason.

The Devils Tower was an outstanding sight to see during our drive west ward across Wyoming on our way to visit Yellowstone National Park. I hope you'll join me in my next blog post where I'll show many of the amazing sights we saw there!

I'm linking this post to Mary of the A Little Red House blog Mosaic Monday event. Thanks, Mary, for hosting such an interesting event every Monday. To see more blogs participating today please visit Mary's beautiful blog and enjoy the links to many wonderful photo mosaics!

39 comments:

Caroline said...

WOW...amazing site. This is something I would love to see in person. Terrific mosaic!

Karen said...

That is simply amazing.

Dishesdone said...

Fantastic!

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

Thanks for the tour of Devil's Tower and the interesting story.

Carol said...

Very interesting! Thanks for the tour!

Kathy said...

Incredible pictures! Great mosaic...Kathy

Gracie said...

Simply stunning! What a view from above, this must be! Have you climbed it?

diane said...

What an interesting rock formation and thanks for the information.Also thanks for the visit.

Tracy said...

WOW... Wow is a bit of silly word, but it fits for here--the Tower is simply amazing in its history and majesty... Beautiful photos and sharing, Pat! :o) Happy Day ((HUGS))

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Isn't nature amazing? You go to visit a lot of interesting places this summer Pat.

Sea Witch said...

I'm having such a wonderful time following your adventures. First, wanted to say I love the new header of the Brooklyn Bridge. Such an iconic symbol. Wyoming is one of my favorite states out west. Spectacular in every form and level. Amazing colors. Sea Witch

Shelia said...

Hi Pat! Oh, this is truly amazing! It's overwhelming, isn't it? Love your mosaic. What a sight this must have been. Thanks for popping in to see me.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

As soon as I saw that first photo, the movie popped into my head!

Great mosaic, Pat!

Jenny said...

This is indeed an awe-inspiring part of the US. Thanks for sharing your trip. And thanks for making me want a big ol' bowl of mashed potatoes now! Have a happy Monday!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Gotta love Wyoming...and all it's eerie natural beauty. Great pic's.

I'm looking forward to joining you in Yellowstone!

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

Wow! You covered some serious territory on your trip out west! Buffalo and badlands and tea sets and missiles! I'm bookmarking these posts for my husband to use as a travel guide whenever he decides to drag me up there (not that I don't want to go, but it sure looks like LOTS of driving and I get cranky in the car!!)
Devils Tower creeps me out but I've always wanted to see it... even before Close Encounters.
Thanks for sharing your adventures!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

This is really fascinating! I didn't even know this existed in our country. I learn so many interesting things from your blog!
♥, Susan

Marsha said...

We've visited DT several times as well and your photos are fantastic!

BailiwickDesigns said...

Lucky you to be visiting our national parks! That's a great mosaic! ::Jill

storyteller said...

What a fascinating place! You've created a marvelous mosaic and I appreciate the info as well. I've never been there, but appreciate the virtual views. Thanks for your visit to mine at Happily Retired Gal.
Hugs and blessings,

Mary said...

That is so cool!!! Thanks for taking us along on the tour, Pat! :)

Helen said...

Enjoyed tagging along with you ...

yes, Ken Boyer was great as was Ted Simmons, Orlando Cepeda, Kenny Reitz and on and on!

Sara said...

You know, every time I see this tower I think of that movie....and I can still remember the night we went to see it in 1978 when it came out! I was about 7 months pregnant and can remember what I was wearing. Weird or what? Later that night I dreamed that those little aliens took me on board their spacecraft and showed me all around, giving me a lovely tour. It was very white and shiny inside, like a hospital. So....thanks to Hollywood, this will always be the association in my head whenever I see the Devil's Tower. I've never seen the movie again, but it is seared into my brain.

Therefore, I appreciate the history and information you have shared here. It's nice to know the real story of this amazing place.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

That is an amazing sight! Enjoyed your post!

CatHerder said...

the only thing i can think of is close encounters...when he is piling up the mashed potatoes on the plate because he is envisioning the tower lol

Donna said...

Truly amazing! Great mosaic.

suesueb said...

That is totally amazing! I've never been out west but I imagine it must be simply gorgeous!!
Thanks for visiting me. I forgot to email Beverly in time but did post pink. I love visiting the Celestial Tea room with you. I love hot tea in winter, especially lemon. The dress is fabulous too. I have a niece in Denver so my chance of going that way may improve. Thanks again for sharing your photos!!

JennyMac said...

that is awesome. Thanks for the great pics too.

Cass @ That Old House said...

This is fascinating! I have never seen this amazing rock formation -- wow. Love the lore surrounding it, too. That would have had to have been some mighty big bear. . . .!
Cass

Tes said...

Your mosaic is inviting! makes me want to see it in person. Thank you for sharing the info. Lovely mosaic!

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Years ago i lived in Montana and would go visit this place.

Its very cool and spiritual.

If you get a chance would love you to stop by any time.

TTFN~~ Claudia ♥ ♥

prashant said...

This is something I would love to see in person. Terrific mosaic!
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Rosezilla said...

Oh, I loved Devil's Tower! My sister and I walked all around it when we were teenagers, and we loved the story of the Indian Princess that was saved from the huge bear because the ground she was on rose up to become this tower. We thought it was so romantic!

GMG said...

Hi Pat! Another week has passed without a chance to drop by. It seems time runs faster when you get to a certain age... ;)
These pictures are stunnig. Great job!!

Blogtrotter is trying to have fun in the Turkish Riviera. Enjoy and have a marvellous week!

Melanie said...

That is one special place. It's good to hear that it is still being used by Native Americans in the traditional way and that is respected.

I was wondering what the top was like. Is it hollow or flat topped?

Dennis said...

I want to climb up the tower, sit down and enjoy the surrounding at the top.

Joyce said...

I am having a Close Encounters flashback.
Jocye

Oliag said...

Great mosaic!....you certainly learned a lot about US geology on your vacation!

Vee said...

Ahhhh, yes, I've been noticing those wonderful mosaics. I'll be back again to finish my tour...it looks as if you enjoyed an amazing vacation.