While I’ll admit that Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind isn’t my favorite movie, I couldn’t pass up a chance to visit Devils Tower National Monument (where a chosen few humans “encounter” some friendly aliens) on our way to South Dakota. Making Devils Tower more tempting was its inclusion on Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up.
Although it’s about a 60-mile detour from Interstate 90, Devils Tower is well worth a visit just to experience the “wow” factor of driving through relatively boring countryside only to make a turn onto US 24 and see this in the distance . . .
|Devils Tower in Wyoming|
As we got closer to the monolith, we could see the strange lines carved downward in the rock face (which Richard Dreyfuss used a fork in mashed potatoes to create . . . ). Scientists believe the lines were caused by magma breaking the surface of the earth, hardening into an intrusion, and then eroding.
I prefer the Kiowa legend which tells of 8 children playing (7 sisters and 1 boy). The boy was turned into a bear and chased his sisters up a large tree. The bear clawed at the trunk, but couldn’t reach his sisters who were then transported into the sky and became the stars of the Big Dipper.
|The “claw marks” on Devils Tower|
There’s a nice walking trail around Devils Towerwhich we were interested in taking, but the darkening sky (and the thunderstorms we had been trying to out run all day) chased us back to the safety of our car.
We were, however, able to make a quick stop for my animal-loving sons at Roberts Prairie Dog Town just inside Devils Tower Monument. Of all the prairie dog towns we visited on this trip (and we visited plenty . . .), this was by far the best . . .
For what looks like an empty field . . .
|An empty field??|
. . . is really filled with holes or burrows . . .
|A prairie dog barking out his warning|
. . . “barking” at all their visitors to get lost . . .
|Isn’t he cute?|
Sixty-eight places visited, 432 to go!