Devils Tower National Monument has been on my must-do list since I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a kid.
The hexagonal basalt columns that make up the tower are amazing, we’ve seen the same at Devils Postpile National Monument in California and at several places in Iceland. Created by cooling lava, the hexagon is the strongest shape and has become exposed over millenia due to erosion.
Currently 867 feet high, scientists estimate that the tower was much higher before erosion started.
Sacred to several bands of Plains Indians, you see their prayer scarves tied to trees throughout the property. There are also specified days of the year that they congregate for ceremonies here.
As I was sitting at the boulder field about 11pm shooting star trails, I heard voices coming down the trail. A pair of climbers had their rope get stuck and it took them many hours to descend the tower. I was lucky enough to catch them on their descent, visible in the star trail photos. Good thing they were prepared and had headlamps!
Column After Column
The Wind Circle sculpture.