Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 5 (Aug 11) Devils Tower, Big Horn National Park and Cody

Devils Tower National Monument - first declared national monument in 1906

The Native American legend says...

One day, an Indian tribe was camping beside the river and seven small girls were playing at a distance.  A bear appeared and was chasing the girls.  As the girls were running back toward their village, they jumped on a rock about 3 feet high and began to pray for help.  The rock heard their pleas and elongated upwards pushing them higher and higher out of reach of the bear.  The bear clawed and jumped at the sides of the rock leaving the marks behind.  The girls were pushed up into the sky and stayed there as a group of seven little stars called the Pleiades.

Today, we know it is an igneous intrusion.  Magma welled up into the sedimentary rock, cooled and hardened.  The sedimentary rock has since eroded away in the last hundred million years, leaving the tower behind.  

The tower is 867 feet from its base.  There were a few groups of climbers scaling the grand monolith when we were there.  You can see rock climbers in the picture above!

At the base of Devils Tower

Guess what this is

Wildlife is pretty abundant around Devils Tower.  We saw porcupine marks left on trees, wild flowers, and grasshoppers that flies around like a butterfly making loud clapping sound... 

...and when the wind blows, the trees sway with the wind, making deep wooshing sound similar to subway trains passing by underground a distance away.  First thought in my mind when I hear that was, trains pass by here?  But we were so deep in the wild that there isn't a train track miles and miles away.

After having a buffalo burger each, we had one last look at Devils Tower before heading west again...

To get to Yellowstone, we drove through Big Horn National Park, scaling mountains to almost 9000 feet above sea level.  We drove by granite pass which has granite as old as 3.5 billion years old!

Dinner time!
Irma Restaurant Grill in Irma Hotel

This is a historical landmark built by Buffalo Bill Cody in the 1930s for tourists to Yellowstone

A gentleman was explaining to another lady that when he first came here a long time ago, this bar used to be full, filled with drinks on the shelf.  Drinks were a bigger thing than dining back then. 

I had buffalo prime ribs and Chris had buffalo steak with mushroom sauce.

This fireplace is made with local sandstones, granite and fossil

Retire to the hotel to get some rest before Yellowstone!