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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Jennifer Cook

The Devil’s Tower

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

Disclaimer: The Devil‘sTower (aka Mashed Potato Mountain) is a a place David has dreamt about since childhood, so he will be writing today’s post:

Out of all the blog posts I have contributed to this one has proved to be the most difficult to write about. The Devil’s Tower was one of the first places I thought about visiting when we began traveling. This has been a magical place for me ever since I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind back in the 1970’s. My fascination of aliens and of exploring far off places started with that movie. However, when I talk about this specific place most people just look at me with a puzzled look. They don’t fully understand why this place touches my heart so deeply. I get questions like: “What about Yellowstone?”“What about New York City? What about Hawaii? Etc.” While those are all worthy places for everyone to visit, the Devil’s Tower was the place that captured my imagination as a little boy, and shaped my passions in a way that no other place ever has. (Well, watching the Sarajevo Winter Olympics also captured my heart and is another bucket list destination for me, but I digress) . In fairness, even my wife was a bit baffled by my excitement to visit this place.

The first moment we saw this unique tower was awe inspiring for me. Words do not describe the feeling I experienced on my first glimpse of the mountain. Of course we stopped to obtain the obligatory “far in the distance” photo, but I honestly wanted to remember that lifelong moment that took 40+ years to finally achieve.

The Devil‘s Tower dominates the Wyoming skyline and is deceiving in its size! It has always captured the hearts of people: from the original people who claimed this land, to the settlers moving West, to the people today who grew up falling in love with this place thanks to a movie. What makes this place even more special is learning about its history and Native American lore. That was what finally capturered my wife’s heart and also allowed her to share in the love of this special place.

The Kiowa legend for the formation of Devils Tower is given in the graphic below:

Anyway, as we ventured to the park on this day I knew that one way or another I would finally touch this unique piece of rock. We pulled into the parking lot and grabbed our selfie with the mountain behind us (Again, we had to capture the moment!)

We began our journey around the base of the mountain. The suggestion is to go clockwise around the over path, so that is what we did. As I mentioned, the path is paved, so most everyone can hike on it. However, there are a number of hills as well as many twists and turns to navigate. I soaked it up because each step brought me closer to a moment I have dreamt about for so many years.

Once we made it about half way around the mountain I found the spot I was looking for. The boulder field thinned out somewhat, and the opening presented itself to me. The excitement, nervousness, and “the moment” almost made it overwhelming for me. I started toward my mountain.

After a few changes in my route I finally had my moment! I slowly reached out and lay my hand against the rock. My heart leapt out of my chest as I felt the mountain‘s energy pass into me. For a brief spell we were connected as one. It was everything I had hoped for.

Let me pause here for a moment and state that I do understand that most people don‘t think along those lines. Sharing energy with a rock? Yes! I have received many puzzled looks when I talk about things that most people never consider or think about. In return, I am always slightly baffled at their response. The experience of being immersed in nature can be deeply spiritual and even life altering when we pause and just allow ourselves to be present in the moment. Yet, we rarely allow ourselves that connection. Anyway, I accept that my outlook and opinion on this matter is different than most of my peers, but it doesn’t lessen my experience.

After spending a few minutes at the base of the mountain I said a prayer of thanks and moved on. As we continued around The Devil‘s Tower, Jenny and I soaked up the moment. My wife knew what this meant to me and she rejoiced in the celebration and significance of the occasion. That meant the world to me. I will never forget this day. The emotions, the magnitude of feelings, and the beauty of this place will remain with me forever. I hope all of you have a special place that you must see one day. I encourage you to use that as motivation to make the trip happen. You won’t regret it!

We did find one additional moment of joy during our visit: a prairie dog town near the base of The Devil’s Tower! We love watching them signal to each other and run around. These unexpected moments always pop up on our adventures. We never know what they will be, but they always add something to each trip.





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