Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
54Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
What I did
Devils Tower National Monument
On the way I stopped in Custer, S.D., went into the Cattleman's ('The best steak in the West') and ordered a 6 oz Cattleman's filet and a bottle of Fat Tire. I then drove West to Newcastle, Wyoming, and then North along 85/585 passing through Sundance (yes, that's where the Kid got his name from), finally arriving at the KOA campground. Jim at the check-in office said that they show the motion picture 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', a Steven Spielberg production from 1977, every night a 7 pm
This morning I went up to see the real thing. National parks and monuments are all very nicely laid out and competently managed. When I stopped at the entry point to buy my ticket, the lady ranger said 'Welcome to Devils Tower' and inquired delicately whether I was 62 years of age or older. I answered in the affirmative. She then asked if I was a U.S. citizen. I said 'no' and added with a smile that my mom had always told me to tell the truth. She smiled back that she would have had to see an I.D. anyway. So I paid my full $10 and did not get my senior citizen's discount of $5. I believe this kind of discrimination because of nationality is contrary to the UN Human Rights Convention and a host of other international conventions
I first went on the 'Tower Trail', a 1.3 mile walk on a paved trail that everybody goes on, but subsequently decided also to go on the 3 mile 'Red Beds Trail' where there was hardly a soul; maybe I saw 10-12 people in total. Devils Tower is a majestic experience. You can actually climb it. Experienced climbers take four hours to get up and an hour to get back. Afterwards a ranger talked about the site and told funny stories about the people who first climbed the tower back in the 1930's and a lot of other interesting stuff. Have a look at my photos and enjoy!