Listen, I’m not one to talk mad crud about a helpless, inanimate state that’s minding its own business, but east Wyoming is kinda bunk. I know, I know, don’t be a state-ist, Kylie – Wyoming didn’t ask you to drive through it. I get that. But while the Equality State’s plains and countrysides are beautiful in their own nuanced sort of way, east and west Wyoming were not created equally.
But God is good, because after about an hour (from the Black Hills) of what literally feels like “Forever West”, something striking begins to poke its flat head up into the horizon. That thing is Devils Tower, the grandest, most glorious Butte I’ve ever laid eyes on.
1) THE DRIVE IN IS PRETTY LIT PHAM
2) YOU CAN CLIMB IT WHENEVER THE G-DARN HECK YOU WANT (excluding June)*
- 4000 people do it every year. You can fact check me but you’ll just be wasting your time so just trust me – what did I ever do to you?
- Takes like 4-6 hours on average. So, the more you know.
- Was first climbed in 1893 by two local ranchers WITH A WOODEN LADDER (that you can still see today)
- Some Native Americans consider the monument sacred and aren’t really cool with people climbing on it all the time. Kinda like some of you might feel if people were just parkouring all over the Vatican. So climbing is discouraged during June while ceremonies and other rites are held. Climbing falls by 80% during this time, while the other 20% suffers a major hit to their karma.
- Not a geologist, but its tall. 873 feet. And pretty much vertical af. So, kinda crazy.
- All you gotta do is sign a piece of paper so they know if you get lost.
3) There is (awesome) hiking/scrambling for the non-insane
On the way to Devils Tower we talked about how crazy it is that people scale this giant vertical butte. We hadn’t experienced any big adrenalin rushes so far (other than leaving home, our jobs, and our DOGS, to travel). So once we saw people scrambling up the Durrance approach – the area right below where the tower turns into straight columns – my brain was immediately filled with ideas. (i.e. Kylie’s brain — the more BA one)
The very rustic park ranger urged us to wear helmets because the section of the Butte we wanted to scramble was nicknamed the “BOWLING ALLEY” because of the giant death rocks that frequently drop down and smash humans flat like a Wiley Coyote. Still, he gave us the go ahead to scramble (at our own risk), which was enough to make me feel safe. That, plus a few PB&J’s and a belly rub, and Chris was feelin’ up for it too.
They have about a 3-ish mile hiking trail outside of the tower, and a shorter distance paved trail that loops around the tower, gettin’ all up close and personal views. We ended up taking the hike route, but found ourselves exploring off of the trail to see some awesome views.
4) YOU COULD BE IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS
… If you can climb the Butte in under 18 minutes, the amount of time it took Todd “the most badass guy named Todd ever” Skinner to reach the top in 1980-something.
Even more FleeQ, he did that without ropes or protection. The man is a legend*
*Which goes to show, legends actually do die. Mr. Skinner passed away after falling 500 feet from Leaning Tower in Yosemite National Park
5) THEY’RE BUILDING A FOOTBALL STADIUM UP THERE
Not really, but how neat would that be? The top is flat and about that size, so it’s not necessarily out of the question. Devils Tower, future home to the Wyoming Red Buttes.
People really just kinda kick it up there…
6) ITS FULL OF PHUN PHACTS
Including, but not limited to the following:
- Originally called Mato Tilipa “Bear Lodge” until white people hecked up the translation and it became “Devils Tower”
- Its solidified from liquid “magma” molten lava SHOUTOUT TO CHILIS FREE BIRTHDAY MOLTEN LAVA CAKES
- … and Dr. Evil
- It’s basically shedding layers so you only have thousands and thousands of years left to see it. Want to know why rocks, boulders, and sometimes even giant columns fall? Because erosion. (Not as fun of a word as it sounds.)
- It’s the first national monument EVER. Big Daddy Teddy R. made that so when he wasn’t busy doling out justice to bears or having the world’s biggest mustache
- Again, not a Geologist, but actual Geologist’s describe the monument as basically a bunch of pencils wrapped in a rubberband and stuck into your flesh
- Grammar! Its Devils Tower, without an apostrophe, cause some random rule about Geographic Naming Standards. Also, Teddy probably couldn’t see beneath that stash when he signed it, and since there wasn’t a delete button back then, they just said fuggit. Cheers to the future! CAN U EVEN HANDLE THE NEATNESS
7. HIMS A VERY HAMSUM MONNERMENT