What were you doing in 1977? I had turned 11 and Stars Wars came out just after my birthday. What a classic movie, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Hans Solo and Princess Leia who could forget them. Regardless of your sex or nationality, this epic story has captured most of the world’s population. However, some may argue that point, like my wife (let me duck for cover lol). Likewise, another movie in 1977 was released with the Devils Tower as its iconic scenic shot. Can you remember this movie? If you said “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” … Well done. Devils Towers was used as the formation for the location of its climatic scenes. Until now, I had always wondered what it looked like. Due to our epic road trip I can now say Devils Tower is amazing and brings back memories of 1977.
In The Distance
Where is Devils Tower you may ask? It is situated in the state of Wyoming in the USA. Approximately 52 kms north east of Moorcroft and 45 kms north west of Sundance. Rapid City is about 172 kms away. This amazing geologic feature rises from the prairies of the surrounding Black Hills. Particularly significant are the hundreds of parallel cracks that form the outer shell of Devils Tower. They give it a uniqueness that is unquestionably astounding in this area. In fact, this draws climbers from around the world wanting to scale its heights. Entrance fees to the park are $20 for 1-7 days for a private car and its passengers. The prices are set to rise by $5 as of the 1st of January 2019. There is road works happening coming into the park (we were here 8th Oct 2018).
In the distance we initially see the top of Devils Tower as we come over the crest of a hill, but it disappeared quickly. However, it wasn’t until we were about 5 minutes away we got a full view of Devils Tower. It’s presence among the surrounding area is amazing and truly worth the time spent getting there. Arriving at the entrance to the park, the ranger was very helpful and friendly a very nice welcome. The drive to the visitor’s centre circumnavigated the base of Devils Tower and gave you different perspectives of it. Upon reaching the visitors centre you see the sheer walls of Devils Tower and the intricacies of the parallel cracks that run from top to bottom.
Winding up the trail, the trees give way to the boulders, rocks and pebbles that have gathered at the base of Devils Tower. Staring up at the sheer cliffs it hits me just how small we are, all things considered. Also, how privileged and blessed, that we have been give this amazing time to experience Gods awesome creation. Having observed the outer crust, I realized it has a greenish tinge, I’m guessing it is some type of moss or algae. It gives Devils Tower a Martianistic vibe to it, maybe “Close Encounters” have happened here lol 😊.
Having played the complete tourist, taking the obligatory selfie and perusing the gift shop, we head down the trail to the park exit. However, being a photographer there is always room for another photo op. Carolyn knows only too well and waits patiently as we make several stops on the way down. I have to get every possible vantage point of Devils Tower captured in my camera. Overall, we have had an amazing experience, one that will live on in our memories. I highly recommend a visit to Devils Tower if you are in Wyoming you won’t be disappointed. Especially if you are a fan of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Just a quick footnote if you intend travelling and visiting several national parks buy yourself an “America the Beautiful” annual pass. It is worth the $80 as we have saved money after visiting just 3 parks.
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