Overwhelming Wyoming – Part I

Travel: 25/09/2012 – Rapid City, SD – Deadwood, SD – Hulett, WY – Devil’s Tower, WY – Buffalo, WY.

Travel 26/09/2012 –  Buffalo, WY – Tensleep, WYThermopolis, WY – Shoshoni, WY – Riverton, WY.

I have made  mistakes  I apologise. In fact, my apology comes like Agent Smith’s proof of identity via Major Shulz in Pookaverse’s favourite pre-revisionist WW2 film – Where Eagles Dare. Firstly, I have started to repeat myself in previous blogs – particularly around sandwiches and eating habits.

Secondly, when looking back I thought that I understood the term ‘Big Empty’ when describing the unfolding landscape’s of Vermont. Further challenged by the flat Prairies of south Dakota between St Pauls, MN and Rapid City, SD. Not so. We hadn’t crossed into the spellbinding desolation of the state of Wyoming.

Main Street, Deadwood, SD. Like Southport seafront without the sun and wagon wheels…

Yesterday we drove from Rapid City, SD to Deadwood, SD through the Northern Black Hills area. We walked down Main Street – an unimposing  past the modern facades – every other front a walk in Casino. We booked the Kevin Costner’s Original Deadwood Tour (Yes, that Kevin Costner – something he put together after ‘Dances with Wolves’) although our tour on a Yellow School Bus was hosted by a former Vietnam Vet just out of clinkie for DUI and performing his community service.

He was just great. Talked about all the history of the town then up a series of precarious switchbacks to the St. Moriah cemetery, bus groaning to itself, where we visited the graves of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane (buried together at Calamity’s request, though not with Bill’s consent) and then back to Main St in under an hour.

We took a tour. We’re not proud of it. However, it’s a good way to get a better understanding of what you are seeing in a short space of time without having to drive. We had 2 and half hours to spend in Deadwood. You see, the plan was to reach Sheridan, Wyoming (as per the plan) while stopping off to see Devil’s Tower. We didn’t make Sheridan, WY – but we did make Devil’s Tower.

After leaving the I-90 W for Aladdin, WY which we found after a hair-rising 6 mile off-road, at least off tarmac, experience we then headed for the small town of Hulett, WY. It was on our way to Hulett that we caught our first glimpse of Devil’s Tower.

It’s no longer a red sticker on a map…Devil’s Tower reveals itself before disappearing round the next bend on the road to Hulett, WY.

It is an extraordinary sight set against an extraordinary landscape swirled with copses of autumn leaves, red sandstone gulleys, grassy knolls, wheat fields and tresses of barbed wire fences patrolled with wooden poles.

Passing through Hulett, WY grabbing a coffee and sharing a slice of apple pie then on through the rolling countryside, Pookaverse discovered later through viewing this excellent fan film locations upload on You Tube that the approach used by the character of Roy Neary in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind was North  through the town of Moorcroft, WY. What does it matter?

I have always been here.

Our route through Hulet, WYt involved travelling South to the National Park entrance. Adjacent to the entrance and the tiny Park Ranger’s booth  was the setting of the Army base from which the three fugitives in CE3K escape – scamble up the low red sandstone bluff after crossing the Belle Fourche river.

Alison finds the right path by the East side

This area is now an RV hookup and campsite along with gift shops, a small family restaurant and is sited just outside the main approach to the gate.

We went in free with our pass bought at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and then spiralled in ever decreasing circles to the base of Devil’s Tower, the Visitor Centre and the beginning of the 1.5 mile ‘Tower Walk’. Pookaverse could heap you with further superlatives.

The spectacle. The aspect. The height. The sense of unreality that sweeps over you at regular intervals as you examine the aspect, the sheer spectacle of this ‘unnatural’ phenomenon.

The Western Eaves at about 4.10 in the afternoon…about your bedtime (23:10)

The birds that make their nests in the eaves and leave wax drips of guano on the almost symmetrically perfect hexagonal formations hanging, suspended like organ pipes.

Is it real?

Pookaverse orbited the tower through peaceful woodlands taking a number of photographs as the fading light of a wonderful autumn afternoon danced over and lit by green and gold tones the contours of this magical place. Little wonder that this place is so revered within Native American folklore. It is a prayer to itself. An older church.

We felt blessed. Nourished. By timing. Nourished by life.

Thirdly I apologise for stopping now. For as I look back through these pictures, taken only yesterday, I can no longer see them clearly.

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7 Responses to “Overwhelming Wyoming – Part I”

  1. jose Says:

    WOW,lost for words

  2. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Hey, looks fantastic, really enjoying following your progress on the map from our sofa, can’t believe your so fa away!!!!

    It’s been back to work for us, and I’ve been climbing around my own tower – only the scafold tower – but makes a great monkey bar!!!!

    love to you both. Take care.

    Andrew and Terri

    • pookaverse Says:

      We both loved the description of your trip. There were a lot of climbers on Devil’s Tower the day we visited and they climb all year round. Save for June. A voluntary abstinence that most observe to respect the beliefs of others. Apart from the odd tit.

      No need for monkey bars just a good strong spirit. You both meet that criteria. We’ve seen you. For the tower you have both climbed we salute you. Happy abseiling , love rohan and Alison xxx

  3. Rach Says:

    Hey Bruv,
    Absolutely ecstatic looking at your pics of Devils Tower! It’s like all the stuff that we loved as kids are finally real 🙂 I realise just how similar we are – more and more with every post! I think that I had forgotten that – you know how lifes crap distracts one – remembering is the single most wonderful thing that I have felt in a long time. I love and miss you so much, your lil’ blister Boo xxxxxxx

    • pookaverse Says:

      We were always there Rach. I remember how much you loved CE3K when we were children.

      Must be that connection with music and that tonal ‘conversation’ between humanity and the ‘alien’ This one is for you Boo, Love you, always have, always will. Bruv…. Teary too. xxxxxx

  4. Rach Says:

    PS – can’t believe that you’ve only been gone for 3 weeks!!!! Teary now – what a bloody disgrace i am 🙂

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