30 May 2010

WALKABOUT 3 - DAY 4 - MILE 999: Bad God's Tower

Out of the plains of Wyoming rises a rock visible for a hundred miles around, an immense cone of basalt which at times seems to touch the clouds. It sticks out of the flat prairie alone, as if someone had pushed it from underground.

Native Americans in the area call it Bears Lodge. Today we call it Devils Tower.

Devils Tower is a white man's name. Native Americans have no 'devil' in their belief [they have gotten along quite well with out him all these centuries].

Legend has it that seven young girls were playing in the area when a giant bear came upon them and gave chase. The girls came across a low rock and began to pray for the Great Spirit to save them.

Suddenly...the rock began to rise and rise and rise... into the heavens.

The angry bear began to claw at the sides of the rock, streaks and gashes which are visible to this day.

According to legend the rock continued to grow into the heavens until the young girls became the Pleiades.

Devils Tower is also known for another historic event....but that is another story....

The name Devils Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Col. Richard Irving Dodge when his interpreter misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God's Tower later shortened to Devils Tower.

Rising 1,267 feet above the surrounding area it is hard to miss

This is a beautiful area and I do recommend a stop if you should ever find yourself here up north.

Alas, we saw no buffalo...or little green men.

After hiking around Devils Tower, we stopped by the KOA campground and had some lunch in the campground cafeteria. As I was paying for lunch, I asked the cashier how far/long Cody, Wyoming was from here.

A gentleman behind me spoke up and said, "it depends on how long it takes you to navigate the curves."

'The curves?' I thought.

The drive from Hulett, Wyoming to Cody, Wyoming looked rather flat and barren on the map.

Little did I know there was an obstacle that lie ahead for us...and it was imposing to say the least:

I'm out.

28 May 2010

WALKABOUT 3 - DAY 3 - MILE 874: Laws of Gravity Do Not Apply

There are mysterious places in our world where the laws of physics and nature do not seem to apply.

The Oregon Vortex, Mystery Hole, WV, Mystery Hill, OH and a place that T-Rob and I happened by while we were in South Dakota...

...cue Twilight Zone theme.

We noticed these signs for the Cosmos Mystery Area while we were driving to Mount Rushmore. I wasn't sure what it was but on a whim turned off to find out.

Mystery spots share a basic presentation. You are shown into a room or cabin where strange phenomenon occur. Your tour guide usually has some humorous spiel and when asked why all these events are occurring,usually says 'who knows'.

Uh huh.

The first demonstration involved height differences.

I didn't see much of a change.

Proof the area is flat. I guess.

Your tour guide points out the weird gravitational effects on the trees in the area.

We approach the mystery shack were our perception of 'what is normal' will be thrown off whack.

Tennis balls appear to roll up hill, water flows up hill as well.

T-Rob is beginning to look a little wobbly.

Although the cabin IS at a slight angle...you actually feel you are being pulled in one direction.

I'm sure there is a logical explanation....but it's still cool to see and experience.

A fun diversion if you should find yourself in Keystone, South Dakota near Mount Rushmore; however, we found no buffalo.



25 May 2010

WALKABOUT 3 - DAY 3 - MILE 868: Absolute Darkness

Mount Rushmore is not the only interesting thing to see in this part of South Dakota. As we drove back from the monument we saw signs for other points of interest including Jewel Cave, Crystal Cave and Wind Cave. The closest one to Mount Rushmore was, naturally, Rushmore Cave, about 10 miles away.

Although no Carlsbad Caverns, Rushmore Cave is pretty cool.

Carlsbad Caverns has well paved trails and is quite 'roomy', Rushmore Cave is very compact, in fact some of the passage ways are quite narrow and the ceiling hangs low, eg: headache rock.

At one point we got to experience something most people never do: absolute darkness, experienced only at the bottom of the ocean or in a cave -- our tour guide turned off all the lights!

Now, I use this term loosely since the constant temperature in the cave is 58 degrees and any object that is above absolute zero temperature emits infrared light.

For the purpose of this post...absolute darkness.

Your mind tries to fool you... when you pass your hand in front of your face in complete darkness you think you can see the shadow.

All in all a very cool side trip; however, 150 feet below the earth...we found no buffalo.

I'm out.