America’s First National Monument
This was our second visit to Devils Tower. Our first was an abbreviated, quick visit-and-get back-on-the-road side trip on our way home from a western vacation.
On this 2007 visit, we stayed 3 nights at the Devils Tower KOA campground, just outside the entrance station to the monument.
One of the trails that we took was a trail that goes all the way around the base of Devils Tower. Devils Tower is a sacred site to many American Indian tribes. All along the trail could be seen Indian prayer offerings (bundles and cloths).
The other trail we took was a full moon hike with a park ranger. I did have a couple of good images that turned out from that night, but they were from after we got back to the camper. One of them is the last image of the video slide show at the beginning of this post.
Photos (from top to bottom):
- Prayer bundle in the forest at the base of Devils Tower
- A scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind in one of the prefab buildings on the military base set up at the entrance station.
- Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), Jillian Guiler (Melinda Dillon), and Larry Butler (Josef Sommer) run towards Devils Tower, Close Encounters of the Third Kind scene right at the entrance station to the monument.
- Devils Tower National Monument entrance station.
It’s interesting, now, how familiar much of the scenery in the movie is now, including some of the scenery outside the park. The area where the military encampment is shown to be in the movie is now the site of several better than average touristy type shops.
Devils Tower (Lakota: Mato Tipila, which means “Bear Lodge”) is a monolithic igneous intrusion or volcanic neck located in the Black Hills near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 5,112 feet (1,558 m) above sea level.
Devil’s Tower references:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (full movie)