Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Devils Tower (a typo that lasts forever)

Location: Keyhole State Park (el. 4,200 ft); Moorcroft, Wyoming

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all picture taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)

The purpose for my trip to these parts was to see Devils Tower. 
Kind of strange the way the clouds
swirled around the tower

It is the first National Monument in the country and was established by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. This gave the state of Wyoming the distinction of have the first National Park (Yellowstone, 1872), and the first National Monument (Devils Tower). The apostrophe was mistakenly left off of the word "devils" in the official proclamation, so it has been left off ever since. Those pesky typos will hound you forever. :) Some American Indians have wanted the name changed since they don't like having the word "devil" associated with one of their sacred places. The problem is that different tribes have different names for the tower, so which one to use? 
Prayer/thought clothes left by local
American Indians. 
The tower was given the name Devils Tower by an Army Colonel in 1875 as he was confirming that gold was in this area. The local Indians leave "prayer/thought clothes" tied to the limbs of trees around the base of the tower. This is very similar to what I saw at that Buddhist Stupa in Sedona, Arizona earlier this year. 

The big question is,,,,, "what the heck is this thing?"

I've been to a lot of places, not only in this country, but in the world and I've never seen something that looks like this. 

Some of the experts call it an "igneous intrusion" which to me is just geological double-speak. They say it is magma from way down below that started coming to the surface 100's of million years ago, as a potential volcano, but didn't quite make it all the way to the surface before cooling off. Hundreds of million years of erosion got rid of the softer rock and dirt 
Nice paved trail around the
base of the tower. It seemed
like more going up than down.
over and around the "intrusion" which left us with what we have today. Yeah, maybe and maybe not. It is hard to believe the surface of the earth, even that long ago, was 900+ feet (tower height) higher than it is now. For that much material to erode away, it had to go somewhere. Where did it go? It is the same with the Grand Canyon, where did all of that material go? Geologists say all these drastic changes happen over hundreds of million years. Ok, let's go with that for a little bit. If during those hundreds of million 
As I've seen in many other places,
life will cling to the smallest of area.
years you can erode 1,000 feet of material from around the tower and carve the Grand Canyon, then how is it possible that so many dinosaur bones survived 100 million years intact? Those same geologists say the continents drifted around on the surface of the earth before getting to their present positions. It would seem that much "geologic activity" would be causing lots of earthquakes, etc. But during all of that rearrangement of the surface of the earth, a dinosaur dies, falls over and 100 million years later is discovered as a complete skeleton? Wow. It just prompts a few questions in my mind. You know, like the old advertisement,,,,"inquiring minds want to know". lol

Speaking of inquiring minds,,,, I saw this tree stump on the side of the path that goes around the tower. 

It has some type of symbol cut into it. The cuts are precise and clean. Does anyone recognize it? 

It was an interesting trip. I didn't expect to leave with so many questions in my head. It is one of those things that you just have to see for yourself. I took this shot through my side window as I was driving away. Notice the swirling clouds are no longer there. 
Parting look at the Tower

Tomorrow is moving day but it will be a short haul. I'll be moving to a campground just north of Rapid City, South Dakota. I'll probably be there for at least 4 days to have enough time to see some of the things around that area. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.  


  1. Darrell, I have some of the same thoughts when I see some of these rock formations. I love the fact that recent discoveries have totally changed the way we look at the land in the PNW. The scientists are always so sure they are right and I love it when they are proved wrong. Travel safe.

  2. Hat Rock in Oregon always struck me as a miniature Devils Tower.