Our first stop in Wyoming, dubbed "Forever West" was Devil's Tower. Unlike most of the other main attractions in other states, Devil's Tower is pretty far off the beaten path. Yes, you take a US Highway, but that highway doesn't exactly look like a highway. Much like other US highways, this particular one was simply a long and windy two way road out in the middle of nowhere.
|still on the interstate... but just before the exit for the US highway|
But the magic laid in where it led. Devil's Tower has a whole story associated with it from Native American legend. I'm going to copy and paste the story from devilstower.net:
One day, an Indian tribe was camped beside the river and seven small girls were playing at a distance. The region had a large bear population and a bear began to chase the girls. They ran back toward their village, but the bear was about the catch them. The girls jumped upon a rock about three feet high and began to pray to the rock, "Rock, take pity on us; Rock, save us." The rock heard the pleas of the young girls and began to elongate itself upwards, pushing them higher and higher out of reach of the bear. The bear clawed and jumped at the sides of the rock, and broke its claws and fell to the ground. The bear continued to jump at the rock until the girls were pushed up into the sky, where they are to this day in a group of seven little stars (the Pleiades). The marks of the bear claws are there yet. As one looks upon the tower and contemplates its uniqueness, it isn't hard to imagine this legend as fact.
So that's the story, and there's a lot more information on the website. But you're more interested in the pictures of this thing, I'm sure. Say no more:
|looming from a distance|
|note those cool fluted sides|
|see if you can spot the climbers... they say it takes about 5 hours to climb|
I'd say it was pretty worth the drive. It's something that's just completely out of the ordinary, and honestly it doesn't even do it justice to take pictures of it. It's just something that is purely bizarre, and you have to go there to see it in person to appreciate it. So if you're ever in the Wyoming neck of the woods... here's what you should see!
Our next destination was our arrival for the night in small-town Cody, Wyoming. However, the entirety of the Big Horn Mountain Range stood in our way, and the forecast for that night was rain. Not just a drizzle, I'm talking full out storm. Downpour. Murderous amounts of weather. The closer we got to the mountains the darker it got, and pretty soon, as we started up the switchbacks, it was all around us. Because of the weather, we didn't take any shots on the way up. However, as we crested the top, the storm subsided, and you could see hints of blue among the sky. The drops ceased falling and as we came down out of the mountains, we passed through Shell Canyon. It was so breathtaking that we not only took pictures along the way, but actually had to stop and get out and take some photos too:
|yep... that grey stripe is the road down there|
Pictures simply don't do it justice. After passing through the dinko town of Shell, population 83 (yes, you read correctly 83!!!) we pulled into Greybull, Wyoming for one last stop of gas before heading off to Cody. En route to Greybull, I encountered one of the best sunsets I've ever seen in my life.
Honestly, it was like something out of a calendar. Upon rolling into Cody for the night, we met up with my friend Grace and her roommate for dinner at the Geyser Brewing Co, where I had my first taste of a true bison burger. Literally the best burger I've ever had in my life, though as per the recommendation of the waitress (and myself after having experienced it) I highly recommend ordering one grade more toward the rare side than you normally do! First time I have ever ordered medium-rare in my life.
We turned in that night at a local inn not-so-creatively called "A Wyoming Inn", and rested up for the next day in Yellowstone.