We've arrived at the Gillette Wyoming Escapade. Along with 658 other rigs, we were very efficiently greeted, parked and welcomed to this event. It was amazing how quickly people were out of their rigs and planning get togethers and happy hours. We were parked with boomers Wayne, Steve and Donna and just down the lot Judy and Luke. We attended lots of education seminars and found the ones on safety and driving to be the best.
We volunteered to serve ice cream and of course eat ice cream. Also volunteered to play hosts and keep the meeting areas clean. Both were great ways to meet other travelers. There were 1286 registered attendees and we were kept busy with seminars, vendor offerings and great evening entertainment. A donut breakfast was held to benefit CARE. Over $2100 was raised; even a $500 donut donation. Escapees are very generous people. Dick joined the Elks along with about 52 others. The Gillette lodge did a nice ceremony along with light dinner and drinks and time to spend with other Elk members . We look forward to participating in activities with our Phoenix Lodge when we return home.
This massive tower rises 867 feet from its base and stands 1267 feet above the river. The area of its teardrop-shaped top is 1.5 acres and the diameter of its base is 1000 feet. An amazing structure that is either an ancient volcano or an igneous intrusion
( ok this is a quote, I'm no geologist). At least six American Indian tribes consider it sacred and still use the area for prayer offerings, vision quests and sweat lodge ceremonies.
I like the Kiowa peoples idea that the children were playing at the base when one of the children tured into a bear and frightened the seven sisters. The girls climbed a tree and as they did so it began to rise into the air. The bear tried to kill them but they were beyond its reach. It scored the bark all aroud with its claws. Thus we have Devils Tower and the 7 sisters borne into the sky became the stars of the Big Dipper.
We enjoyed hiking around the tower and watching the climbers. They are pretty amazing. Part of the 1978 movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was filmed here. Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument under the Antquities Act in 1906.
Over 5000 people climb this every year. According to the rangers there are 220 routes up the tower. Can't imagine the strength and endurance to climb like this.
Throughout the area there are ribbons and prayer bundles of hair, tobacco and sage tied to the trees representing prayer. The green and blue color ribbons represent Mother Earth and Father Sky.
Dick and I enjoyed watching the climbers but decided this was not our sport, today.
"Circle of Sacred Smoke" by Japanese sculptor Junkyu Muto is the 3rd in Muto's international peace project, Wind Circle. The 1st sculpture is at the Vatican and the 2nd is in Bodhi Gaya, India. The Circle of Sacred Smoke represents the first puff of smoke from the pipe used by tribal people to pray. Amazing view as I centered Devils Tower into this circle for this pic.
After our hike, we went to the park to enjoy a picnic lunch and we were serenaded by this cowboy poetry and music festival. One of the fun things about travel is all the unexpected activities. This was a real treat.
Our day would not be complete without a prairie dog sighting. These little guys seem to pose for the photographers and bark for attention.