The first stop on our trip was The Devils Tower Wyoming – rising 1,200 feet above the Belle Fourche River, inspired the imagination of the Indians. They called it Mateo Tepee, meaning Grizzly Bear Lodge, and had several legends regarding its origin. According to the Kiowas, who at one time are reputed to have lived in the region, their tribe once camped on a stream where there were many bears. One day seven little girls were playing at a distance from the village and were chased by some bears. The girls ran toward the village and when the bears were about to catch them, they jumped to a low rock about three feet in height. One of them prayed to the rock, “Rock, take pity on us–Rock, save us.” The rock heard them and began to elongate itself upwards, pushing the children higher and higher out of reach of the bears, When the bears jumped at them they scratched the rock, broke their claws and fell back upon the ground. The rock continued to push the children upward into the sky while the bears jumped at them, The children are still in the sky, seven little stars in a group (the pleiades). According to the legend the marks of the bears’ claws may be seen on the side of the rock.
After seeing this awesome tower, it is certainly easy to see how it could impact anyone who has visited it, and why it was named our first national monument. It was a beautiful day when we arrived, a bit early in the afternoon for some great shots, but I managed a few good ones. I’m working feverishly on completing the rest of the shots from Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Deadwood.