This morning Barb and I visited the Pompeys Pillar National Monument, which is 28 miles east of Billings off I-84. (www.mt.blm.gov/pillarmon/) I dropped Barb off as close to the entrance as I could and then drove back to the parking area. As I was getting out of the car, I saw a Lazy Daze motorhome. Of course, I had to check out the owners. They are Don and Rosemary Webb of southern California. They are active in the Lazy Daze owners’ group there. Theirs is one of only 31 anniversary models built especially for the company’s 50th anniversary. They organized the 50th anniversary rally at Cheyenne in 2007.
Pompeys Pillar is a huge 150-foot-tall stone outcrop on the banks of the Yellowstone River; it has a two-acre base. It has served as a major landmark and observation point for about 11,000 years. Hundreds of markings, petroglyphs and inscriptions have been left by visitors, but the most famous one is Captain William Clark’s engraved signature dated July 25, 1806. This inscription is the only remaining on-site physical evidence of Lewis and Clark’s journey.
Clark named this rock Pompy’s Tower but it was renamed Pompeys Pillar in 1814 when the Lewis and Clark journals were published. Pompy was Clark’s nickname for Jean Baptiste Charbonneau whose mother, Sacagawea, was the exploration party’s interpreter. Pomp means “little chief” in the Shoshoni language. The Crow name for this outcropping is Issbi’amaache – Where the Mountain Lion Lies. There is a rock on the northeast face of it that resembles a lion
In 1991 the U S Bureau of Land Management purchased the property and in 1992 built a visitor station and wooden stairs to Clark’s signature and to the top of the pillar. In 2006 the new interpretive center was opened.
First I saw a video at the interpretive center and then explored the site. I walked all the way to the top of the pillar. Such wonderful views all around!
Tomorrow there will be a big anniversary celebration at Pompeys Pillar. When we learned of it, Barb and I tried to reserve one more night at the Trailer Village RV Park so we could attend the celebration, but our spaces had already been reserved by someone else. Boo hoo!
We were back at the RV park shortly after noon. Barb had some errands to run and we need to plan our next few stops.