Escapade begins today with Registration and Orientation, so after we got our packets of information and schedule of all the lectures and events the rest of the day was open so we went site seeing. We drove about an hour to the northeast to see Devils Tower.
The majestic rock rises 867 feet from its base to an elevation of 5,112 feet. It stands out as a distinctive natural monument in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming. Devils Tower flattens out at its peak, to an oval mesa in the sky of 300 feet by 180 feet.
It was President Theodore Roosevelt that declared this spectacular rock America’s first National Monument. That was in 1906, making Devils Tower the second "Nation's first" in Wyoming. Yellowstone became our nation’s first National Park in 1872.
Devils Tower became a movie star in 1976, when many of the scenes in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” were filmed here. And the famous tower has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Legend of the tower:
Long before Devils Tower was called "Devils Tower" the Indians referred to the mighty rock differenty. Most of the names had to do with the mighty bear. They called it “Bear’s Tipi” or “Bear’s Lodge”, others called it “Bear’s House” or “Bear’s Lair”. After all, it was a giant grizzly bear that, according to Indian lore, made the scratches in the massive slab.
You can read the Indian's Story here.
Two ranchers, Rogers & Ripley, made elaborate preparations to climb the tower. They built a 350-foot wooden ladder to the summit by driving wooden stakes into a continuous vertical crack running between two columns on the southeast side of the Tower. The stakes were braced and secured to each other by a continuous wooden strip.
On July 4, 1893, a thousand spectators watched in awe as Rogers made the first ascent of the Tower. To the wild cheers of the crowd, William Rogers ascended the ladder and ran an American flag up a flagpole. Devils Tower had officially been climbed!
You can read more here about how they reach the top.
Along the Tower Trail we had an awesome view of the valley below, and came across a small meadow filled with Prarie dogs popping in and out of their holes.
Back at camp for the evening, we had a Thunder storm blow over. It is so amazing to see a big sky filled with such dark clouds, and to see the lightening in the distance.