Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Matt Miller, Jacque Miller, Holly Miller, Shane Miller
Date: 1987 & July 13-14, 2003
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is my favorite movie of all time. We camped at the KOA Campground in our pop-up camper just outside of the park (Photo#1). Every night the campground shows the “Close Encounters of a Third Kind “ movie on a big screen outside. Sitting in my camping chair I could watch the movie then turn to the side and look up at the real Devil’s Tower. What a fantastic setting. The only thing missing was UFO’s flying by.
Located in the Black Hills region, the famous Devil’s Tower rises 1,267 above the Belle Fourche River. It rises 867 feet from base to summit.
The next day we hiked the 1.3 mile Tower Trail going off trail many times to climb the boulder field, large rocks (Photo#2) that have fallen from the tower. The kids noticed cloths wrapped around many trees. The park ranger told us these are spiritual cloths placed there by Native Americans. Afterwards, we visited the Devil’s Tower Trading Post where I bought Close Encounter movie t-shirt, key chain and a stuffed buffalo for Holly. Just off the park road was a small prairie dog city where we enjoyed watching and taking photos of dozens of prairie dogs as well as watching the Wyoming state bird, the meadowlark.
Why the strange shape of the tower? Geologists fell that magna from the Earth’s mantle welled up between chunks of sedimentary rock. Devil’s Tower is a sacred place for many Plains Indians and a favorite location for rock climbers. I want to return some day and kayak the Belle Fourche River.