Devils Tower National Monument
At 9:30am, we were on our way to the Black Hills Forest. We knew we had a long day driving ahead. We took the longer scenic route via “Big Horn Scenic Byway” through the “Bighorn National Forest” to the “Devils Tower National Monument.”
We drove through the area I had seen before in Yellowstone Park’s restaurant. I mentioned then that the trees across the lake looked as if they were made from silver. Well, we now saw why. While still standing, these trees were dead and shining white; we had been admiring dead, burnt trees!
Driving East, the landscape changed. The dense forests disappeared. At Shell, the 58-mile “Big Horn Scenic Byway” started offering spectacular overlook views; it also showed a barren landscape. The white and colorful red rock mountains were beautiful though!
According to the Kiowa People’s legend, Devil’s Tower is a petrified tree. Once, seven sisters and a brother played here. While playing, the brother turned into a bear, frightening his sisters, who fled. A great tree spoke to the fleeing girls, telling them to climb up. As the girls went up, the tree grew higher into the sky, keeping the girls safe from the bear. Still, the bear tried to catch them, and his claws left deep grooves in the rising tree.
When the tree reached the heavens, the seven sisters evolved into the seven stars of the Big Bear constellation. The tree died and was petrified; the trunk still shows the bear’s grooves today!
After stretching our legs, taking many pictures, and walking the 1.3-mile Tower Trail loop, we continued our day trip to our destination for the two upcoming nights: “Bever Lake Campground, “near Custer in South Dakota.