From Deadwood we drove a few hours northwest, heading for Devils Tower, Wyoming. Along the way we chanced upon a 120 year old general store in the hamlet of Aladdin and stopped to have a look. It was full of antiques, new western style clothing and lots of touristy junk.
We had booked three nights at the KOA at Devils Tower and when we arrived, discovered to our delight that the mountain overlooked our campground. The KOA is really pretty, with lots of huge cottonwood and oak trees, and a small river runs along one side.
After setting up the trailer and having a quick lunch, we drove into the Devils Tower National Monument to hike around the mountain. We bought an $80 annual family pass that gives unlimited access to all US National Parks, Historic Sites and Monuments for the next twelve months.
There were four different trails so we started with the easiest one, which is also closest to the mountain, is paved and only takes 45 minutes. The weather was lovely and the views were spectacular!
We went through the visitors’ centre which told about the Indian legend of how the mountain was formed. As the story goes, seven Indian girls were pursued by a bear and jumped onto a big rock. The children begged the rock spirit to save their lives, so the rock grew so tall the bear could not reach the girls. The bear scratched the vertical grooves on the side of the mountain trying to climb. Trapped at the top, the girls became seven stars in the sky.
The scientific story is that the mountain is the remains of an underground lava flow 1.5 miles beneath an ancient volcano. The lava was plugged and slowly cooled in a vertical crystalline formation. The volcano and surrounding sandstone were slowly eroded away to reveal the plug. Which story do you like best?