The first weekend of summer my Mom, my brothers, and I decided to take a short road trip into the black hills. Our first stop was at Devil’s Tower. This unique geological feature in the landscape has stood out for hundreds if not thousands of years as not only a place of wonder and curiosity but also of a sacred nature.
The Cheyenne Native American tribe believed Devil’s Tower or as they called it, Bear’s Lodge, was where their warrior societies, tribal government, special laws, and ceremonies were handed down to them. It was also the place where the coming of the white people, horses, and cattle was supposedly foretold. The Lakota nation regards the site as a sacred place of worship to their God and even as the birthplace of wisdom!
Hiking around Devil’s Tower we saw many ribbons tied to various branches of trees. My Mom explained to my brothers and me that when Native Americans come there to pray today they leave the ribbons behind.
While most of the tribes who have a connection with Devil’s Tower associate it with the bear, I especially appreciate the Kiowa name for it: Tree Rock. To me, it seems like a great petrified trunk of a giant tree that reaches into the stars on clear nights!
The weather was absolutely perfect for our brief hike. Usually, we would hike around the base of the tower but seeing just how busy it was the day we went, we pulled off one turn early on the left side of the road where a sign said there would be hiking trails.
Sure enough, right from a seemingly overlooked parking lot, we were able to hike a 1.5 ml loop around to the back of Devil’s Tower. Experiencing the beauty and serenity of this trail we passed wildflowers, deer, butterflies, and even caught sight of the falcons nesting on the rock face!
On this trail, we only passed three other hikers!
I highly recommend this different perspective of the National Monument when you’re planning your visit. I think the quiet and less crowded nature of this trail gives you the time to really absorb its beauty and its original use as a place of worship seeking clarity, guidance, and healing.
Which is your favorite National Monument? How did you spend the summer solstice? Have you visited Devil’s Tower? If so, would you take the trail around the base or the less crowded trail around the back?
Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!