Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vacation 2015 ~ Day Eight - Devils Tower

Devils Tower is the first National Monument, so if you have been following my vacation post that makes the state of Wyoming to have the first National Forrest (Shoshone National Forrest), National State Park (Yellowstone), and National Monument (Devils Tower) this should help inform how beautiful Wyoming actually is. 
It is actually not fully understood by geologist how Devils Tower came about, however the most popular theory is it is most likely the interior of an extinct volcano where the remaining debris and ash has eroded away over time.  The monument is 1,267 feet and it is part of the Black Hills mountain chain. 
The monument is within an Indian Reservation and one must respect the land and keep on the track because the monument is on Indian Sacred ground to the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, and Kiowa. 
There are a couple of trails you can hike to go around the monument.  The inner circle, which we took is 1 mile of paved path which does have slopes.  I found some of the slopes a little too steep for my knees but I just took them slow because I wanted to see the beauty.
If you register with the ranger's office you could climb the tower.  However, during the month of June, climbers are asked not to do so to honor the wishes of the local tribes.  Below is a picture of someone needing assistance from the park rangers while climbing.
There are two American Indian Legends on how the monument came into existence.  One: The Devils Tower was created when six Sioux girls were picking flowers in the forest and they were chased by bears.  In order to save their lives, the Great Spirit lifted the ground under the girls.  The bears attempted to clime the rock, but could not reach the girls at the time.  The marks around the monument are the bears scratch marks. (This is the most popular legend.)
Another Indian Legend is of two Sioux boys who wandered away from the village.  A giant bear who was named Mato attempted to eat them when Wakan Tanka the creator raised the ground below the boys.  The bear clawed its way to the side of the rock trying to get them but was not successful so he wandered off forming Bear Butte near the Black Hills.  Wanblee the eagle lifted the boys off the monument aiding them to return to their village.
However the monument was created it is a very beautiful and peaceful place.  Visitors are requested to watch their voice levels again to respect the Indian's sacred ground.

Above and below are some ceremonial ties which were placed on trees along the grounds around the monument

Below is a type of wild flower.  Like Yellowstone, if a forest fire begins, they let it burn because it is good for the nature.  Their are trees which has a type of cones which only open with extreme heat like fire.  This will then be the new seedlings for new trees.  This is true for some flowers, such as the flower picture below.  The only time rangers fight fires are to protect historical sites/buildings or people.
I am truly thankful the Indians allow us to visit this site.  It is true beauty and tranquility.  

Vacation 2015 ~ Day One and Two
Vacation 2015 ~ Day Three - The Grand Tetons & Day One in Yellowstone
Vacation 2015 ~ Day Four, Five, and Six - Yellowstone
Vacation 2015 ~ Animals of Yellowstone
Vacation 2015 ~ Day Seven -  Cody
Vacation 2015 ~ Day Eight  - Devil's Tower


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