Devils Tower, WyomingDevil's Tower National Monument, WY
August 30, 2004

By 4:00 or so, Dave, Andra and I had crossed the South Dakota-Wyoming line and were closing in on Devilís Tower, a spectacular and singular cone of ancient lava protruding from the plains almost a thousand feet by the meandering Belle Fourche (beautiful fork) River in northeastern Wyoming. Having felt a civil obligation to visit Devilís Tower ever since I became a legal resident of Wyoming, by virtue of it being one of two prominent symbols on all Wyoming license plates, we stopped the car some miles out from the tower and photographed the tower next to the rear bumper of the car, thus showing both towers at approximately the same scale. A small parking lot held only about a dozen vehicles when we arrived, paid our $10 entry fee and parked. The sky was virtually cloudless as we took the short trail around the base of the tower. The trail was paved, and circled matter-of-factly around the tower through giant ponderosa pines. On the north side we watched several climbers moving up at an almost imperceptible rate along the fissures created by calving chunks of rock. I briefly relished the fact that I was on flat ground rather than hanging 200 feet up by a rope. A sign said that occasional snakes live up on top of the tower, which can obviously only be reached by an ascent up near-vertical walls. So how do snakes get up there? 

After our 30-minute walk around the base, we piled into the car and drove north a little bit to a ridge that provided better viewing of the tower. A longer loop trail led across a tawny-gold field of grass and into the forest. At almost every step, the singular shape of the tower could be seen like the moon that follows those who walk at night, peeking at them from behind every tree. Along the trail, people had tied brightly-colored prayer cloths in low-hanging tree limbs that hung limply in the still air. The worn dirt path led east down a cool ravine and then back up a steep south-face where, once again, the tower was prominently in view. As the sun touched the western horizon, we walked quietly back to the car along the ridge top. It was a beautiful place. 

Devils Tower, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Dave at Devils Tower

Devils Tower, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Dave, Andra and I at Devils Tower

Devils Tower, Wyoming
Andra, Dave and I at Devils Tower

Devils Tower, Wyoming
The license plate matches the scenery. Very cool.

Devils Tower, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Andra and I at Devils Tower

Devils Tower, Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming

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