Monday, September 03, 2012

Devil's Tower and Vore Buffalo Jump- September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!! We were up and moving early this morning (this happens when we change time zones east to west).  A little past 8am we were in the Jeep headed for Devil's Tower, about 28 miles from Sundance.  Not far from Sundance 3 does and a fawn crossed the road in front of us to a field that had a wire fence around it.

The does were able to jump the fence but the fawn was having a frantic time trying to find a way through the fence and we were adding to his stress so we quickly moved on.  Miles from Devil's Tower we were able to get views of it and the roadside pullouts allowed for picture taking.

Arriving at the Visitor's Center we saw that a ranger led walk around the tower was scheduled for 9:30am so we whiled away some time and then went along on the one and half hour walk.

Periodically, the ranger would stop and talk about the various aspects of the "Tower", the geology, the recreational, the spiritual and the flora and fauna.  The "Tower" resulted from magma that cooled underground causing it to contract and fracture into columns.  Erosion of the sedimentary rocks over millions of years exposed the "Tower".  A horizontal cut through the "Tower" would appear as a bundle of pencils grouped together.  There are hiking trails around the base of the "Tower" as well as over 200 trails to climb to the top.  This is one of many sites in this country that has special meaning for Native Americans and throughout the surrounding area prayer cloths  are seen tied to trees by Native Americans.

Ponderosa pine trees and an oak tree grow about the base of the "Tower"- the oak is seen from this elevation and lower and the ponderosa in higher elevations.  In the grassy lower level near the park entrance prairie dogs abound.  Porcupines live around the base of the "Tower" in the piles of rocks and in the winter eat the bark of the ponderosa trees.  Rattlesnakes, coyote, cougars, deer and squirrels also frequent this area.

Leaving the "Tower" we continued on a circular route through scenic rural Wyoming.  In the little town of Aladdin (population of 15) we stopped at Cindy B's restaurant for lunch of burgers that had been recommended by the campground personnel.  The food was good.  Their pie is supposedly very good but we were too full of the 1/2 pound burgers to partake. 

Continuing on our next stop was at the Vore Buffalo Jump.

This archeological site was discovered when Interstate 90 was being built in the 1970's.  The sink hole was used by the Native Americans to stampede the herds into the hole that resulted in the death of the animals and the butchering and processing of the meat in the hole.  There are 7 layers of bones that are being uncovered by University students during the summer months.

A building has been erected over the dig area.  It is overseen by a foundation set up ny the Vore family on whose property this area was found.

Tomorrow we will move on to Cody, Wyoming.  We should meet up with Larry and Joanne there as we have been hopscotching across the country with one another.  We will be going into Yellowstone on Thursday and should get together a time or so while there.  We will be staying at Fishing Bridge in the park, Larry and Joanne in West Yellowstone at a private park.

The weather has been very pleasant here.  The high today was 81 degrees with sunny skies.  It was 59 degrees this morning- great for sleeping and no air conditioning needed.  This sure beats the 100 degrees we saw in South Dakota 2 days ago.