August 28 - Devils Tower (by Madison)
Trip Start Jun 02, 2011
70Trip End Sep 25, 2011
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Today we went to Devils Tower National Monument. Last night at our campground we watched the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" outside with Devils Tower in the background. The cool thing is that we were sitting on the land where the movie was filmed. It is the first US National Monument, created in 1906 by Teddy Roosevelt. It has been a sacred ground for the Indians for many years, and there are many legends about how it was formed. The most common goes like this: One day 7 girls and 1 boy were playing outside. The little boy fell and his face turned into the face of a grizzly bear and so did the rest of his body. Suddenly he became very hungry and he looked at the 7 little girls and said, "lunch." The little girls ran, asking the great spirit to help them. The 7 girls were on a small rock, and the rock rose them up over 1,200 feet. Angry and hungry, the bear started scratching the rock. His claw marks are what we now see on the columns of Devils Tower, and the little girls are now the stars in the Big Dipper. This is just 1 of the >20 Indian legends.
When we got to the Visitor Center, we decided to join a Ranger led 90 minute hike around Devils Tower. On this hike I learned that this was Indian land until the US Government took the Indians to court and claimed the land. The Indians still come to the land today to have festivals and to worship the people who die. I also learned that Devils Tower was first climbed in 1893 by William Rogers. Finally, we learned that Devils Tower was formed under the ground by magma forcing its way up from the earths core, and then exposed as a massive glacier washed away the land above.
When we were done the hike we completed our Junior Ranger books and got our badges. We then drove 2 hours into South Dakota to our new campground. We are going to go to Jewel Caves tomorrow.
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