Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

This summer I got a chance to drive out west with the family. We didn’t have much of a itinerary, so we winged it most of the time and it worked out great. One of the best surprises was Devil’s Tower in the north western part Wyoming. We saw it on the map in the middle of no where, and we decided we needed a break from driving in the western prairie land. The drive first took us through a small town that had it’s much needed fire stove blazing in August, which tells you how the weather can change. An hour later we were within sight of it. I’d be committing a huge literary crime if I tried to explain the tower in words, but I’ll try my best. Out in this barren prairie land stands a gigantic stone tower that has these lines of indentions that follow it from top to bottom. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” then you may remember the part where the man can not stop making 3-D shapes of a mountain that he has no idea where it exists. This is the mountain (remember the mashed potatoes?). Indian legend says that six sisters were playing with their brother when all of a sudden the boy started turning into a bear. The girls climbed on top of a nearby rock, but it was not tall enough to protect them. I spirit from the sky made the rock grow up towards the sky. The bear tried to jump and get the girls on top of the rocks, but his claws would not stick in the rock and just slid down the face of the mountain. His claws are said to have made the lines of indentions. However, the real story is quite different. Millions of years ago, a large magma intrusion made it’s way into a pocket in the earth’s crust. The magma cooled for some unknown reason and created the rock pocket deep under ground. Over millions of years, the ground eroded away, and it eroded away the soil around the magma intrusion. The rock did not erode, so it left a giant stone tower in a flat land. The lines of intrusions were created when the magma cooled. The rock settled into giant columns stacked side by side. From the site around the tower, there were signs that many of the columns had fallen off the side to create a large slope of crushed rock that led up the mountain’s base. These rocks were a playground for my son. We climbed all over the rocks for what seemed like hours. To get a perspective on time, even with the thousands of crushed rocks from the tower, there had never been a recording of any rocks falling in the park’s history. Another great bit of history is the fact that Will Rogers was the first to climb the Tower. He and a friend did it with home-made ladders. I personally can not even begin to imagine what the first people that saw the place must have thought. I too would have probably thought that it must have been some kind of creation from the spirits in the sky.

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2 Responses to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

  1. emilyhartman says:

    I just googled the Devil’s Tower and it looks amazing. The formation of the rocks could easily be mistaken for bear claw scratches if it was on a smaller scale. I bet this was really amazing to see in person.

  2. bw44c says:

    As crazy as this sounds I have actually been to the Devil’s Tower too. When I was 12 my family and I went on a camping vacation to Wyoming. The sight of the large mass is unbelievable, it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. But I did not know all the information you put in your article.

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