Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday - Devil's Tower and Bison graveyard

The clouds last night were wonderful and looked like they were getting ready to produce something epic.
Luckily, they didn't give us anything more than some serious wind and beautiful photographs.

It was supposed to be a day of rest.....but it didn't turn out that way.  We're just too near too many interesting areas to stay put in Beluga.  We slept until we woke, had a lovely second cup outside in the sun, then came back in and did some prep work for dinner, ate lunch, played ball with you know who and set off to take in a few of the nearest sights.

approach to Devil's Tower, America's first National Monument

this volcanic monolith  rises more than 1200 feet above Wyoming's eastern plains

Dave approaches the boulder field at the foot of Devil's Tower

I wish you were there with us to really see the size of this monster, to experience the sound of wind through the pines at its base, to smell their fragrance, to feel the hot sun and the silence.  It is a very sacred place to the Native Americans here and figures strongly in their folklore.      For the few minutes we were actually alone at its feet, we could feel the power of it.   Then the throngs of other tourists caught up to us, laughing, running, posing in front of it, and jabbering on about who knows what (mostly in foreign languages) and the spell was broken. Sigh.

tiny fern peeks out of a crack in a huge boulder

On our way out of the monument we passed through a Prairie Dog town.  At first glance it looked like a pretty meadow with pink grasses and white flowers waving in the breeze.  When we stopped and watched for a few minutes, we saw it was alive with little tan critters, racing from hole to hole, sitting up on their haunches, chattering and carefully choosing flowers to eat.

tiny panhandlers

We left the National Monument and continued on a scenic loop back to Sundance via the Vore Buffalo Jump.     We were looking for the tiny town of Aladdin (population 15) and a piece of homemade pie from Cindy B's cafe.   Found it - closed......    No dessert for dinner tonight.

I hope you can read the picture of the plaque below.   It describes what a Buffalo Jump is and how significant this particular one is to the archaeological knowledge of the Late Prehistoric Plains Indians.

this picture is from the bottom of the sinkhole, looking up,   Its much deeper than it looks

early excavations show layers of bones in this site

The Univ. of Wyoming has covered the area they are currently excavating to protect it and the archaeologists while they work.

today the students were working in mud, uncovering their previous work after the site flooded from recent heavy rains
Our "rest" day is over and we'll hit the road again tomorrow.   I'm not sure exactly where we'll end up yet, but a few hundred miles closer to home.


  1. I love Prairie Dogs. They are so entertaining.

    How interesting about Buffalo Jump. I have read a few articles about the Indians and their hunting methods. This one was unique for sure.

    We missed Devil's Tower but hope to get back there one day. The photo of Dave walking towards it sure does show the size of the monster. Great photo.

  2. Cool bones ....what a project.

  3. What a great day. I love the prairie dogs...way cute! The layers of bones at the excavation site is a great find and to see the students working makes it even better.

    Sorry you didn't get your pie!

  4. Another great day of rest! It is way too hard to sit when there was all this amazing beauty around you. Glad you had some time alone at Devil's Tower.

    I love the "panhandler." Boy, are they trained to get food!

    What an amazing site at the Buffalo Jump...layers and layers of bones. Kind of gruesome.

    Keeping soaking in that dry air. Times will be a changing real soon:)