Worked most of the day yesterday, finally developing our long-awaited road trip soundtrack page – complete with lyrics to classic travel tunes we’ve deemed appropriate for our trip, local radio stations that have stuck on our dial, and interesting internet radio streams.
But I couldn’t leave Devil’s Tower without a report of this awesome place I’ve always wanted to visit. OK, technically, I did leave since I’m writing this from our new home for the week at Whistler Gulch Campground in Deadwood South Dakota. But I digress…
Traveling across Wyoming, we saw numerous signs stressing that we were in cattle country. As if all the herds weren’t enough to indicate such. As a vegetarian, René was especially amused by the billboards boldy telling us to “Eat Beef!” Personally, I took it as a sign to seek out and grill a great big Wyoming steak. And of course, I would just have to do my best Richard Dreyfus impression by sculpting a replica of the Bear’s Lodge from my mashed potatoes.
If, like me, you’ve ever wondered how Devil’s Tower got its name, be sure to stop at the visitors center and find out. We listened to a wonderful talk by a Native American (Lakota) forest ranger who explained that this sacred place is/was known as Bear’s Lodge or Bear’s Teepee based on ancient tribal tales. That is until the white man bastardized the name after misunderstanding a translation. But I digress again… The ranger was kind enough to let us take Jerry up the path to the base of the tower where we strung some of his fur onto a tree along with the other prayer offerings placed there by local natives.
When leaving the Visitors Center, be sure to take the gravel road on the right and park at the trail head for an incredible sight of the tower from a different viewpoint. Then, pull over in Dog Town at the bottom to watch the antics of all the fat little prairie dogs can call Bear’s Lodge their home.
The Devil’s Tower KOA is outside the entrance to our nation’s first national monument. Right where the landing strip was situated in the movie that made it famous. It is by far the best KOA campground we have seen to date. The sites are large with easy access, the grounds are vast and clean, the views are incredible, the pool is clean and refreshing, and they show Close Encounters every night on an outdoor screen.
There are two great gift stores where you can get an $8.00 six pack of awful Devil’s Tower Lager, but I don’t recommend it. The nearest real market is six miles down the road in Hulett where you’ll have a nice selection of pre-packaged USDA Grade A Beef steaks. I’d like to at least pretend they came from some of those famous Wyoming Angus.