The time that we arrived at the monument was just perfect it was approximately two hours before all off the people and tourists started to arrive. We could just park literally anywhere, so we chose a parking spot a little walk away from the visitors center (we did not go in it; we took the booklets from a news stand outside, and mom took the badges from a box that said Junior Ranger Supplies (Mom edit: Hey, if they didn't want us to take them, then they wouldn't have left them out in public like that (and I made sure the kids did the work))).
One interesting thing is that more than twenty tribes in the area want to rename the monument because the tower which they call Bear Lodge is a sacred place for them so the word devil in the name is offensive to them. A misinterpretation made the name Bear Lodge into Bad Gods Tower, which was made into Devils Tower by some dumb interpreter.
After we got the books we realized that there were no pencils so we decided to do them in the car after we were done at the monument.
At 865 feet tall it is a behemoth but people still climb it! Wow!
It does not take days to climb but if you are adventures and like climbing and have a few spare hours on your bucket list then do it with the help of a ranger.
Another cool thing to see in June is all of the healing prayer cloths.
I know they are pretty but do not take pictures with them; it is disrespectful. The National Park Service even put signs down so that people will not do that in June, which I think is like prayer month or something (see above for a picture of one of the signs).
Another thing you can do is try to see the aliens (which Grandpa joked about a lot).
The following is by Mom, not Ben
Contrary to Benjamin's account, I would say the park was actually rather busy when we arrived—we had to park in the overflow parking even though we'd arrived early. That said, the park was certainly much busier by the time we finished our hike, so it's a good thing we arrived when we did.
I was initially a little worried we wouldn't get a good view of the tower—which Benjamin pointed out is Devils Tower (being poorly translated as Bad Gods Tower) and not Devil's Tower, which I used to think it was; that said it seems we should all be calling it Bear Lodge Butte—because our initial views of it were a little cloudy. The cloud cover soon burned off, however, and we had spectacular weather while we were there.
It's good to know that even a dozen years later, Miriam hasn't lost her zest for life! When Andrew got a good signal on his cell phone we stopped to pull up our blog post from 2011 so that we could review some poses and we found that (1) the arms-up pose was popular between both Miriam and Rachel, so you'll start to see it popping into our posing below, and (2) I was a very strict mother and kept insisting to Rachel that she stay on the trail. I only half-heartedly attempted enforcing that rule that this time around...my mothering has changed a lot in the past twelve years. That's not to say I didn't tell my children to keep to the trail (I did! And I pointed out poison ivy! And steep drop offs! And delicate trailside biomes we are striving to preserve!), but I also know that keeping children from climbing on rocks is...a mathematical impossibility. So I permitted way more scrambling this time.
Anyway, little-Rachel came to a place in the pavement that went around a rock—surrounding the rock by pavement, turning it to a natural island in the midst of a manmade trail. She climbed on top of the rock and declared, "I'm still on the trail! You can't stop me!"
Here's everyone laughing about that story (Rachel was shocked by how saucy she was as an almost-four-year-old...but for real...she was a saucy little thing!):
And guess what the little kids sang for the entire rest of our hike (most especially Alexander)?
"I'm still on the trail! You can't stop me! I'm still on the trail! You can't stop me! I'm still on the trail! You can't stop me!"
Here's Rachel mimicking her childhood pose:
Here's a picture of Phoebe running down the trail on her own two legs (so that in another dozen years we can go back to Devils Tower and make her take a million pictures running down the trail just like this (we just won't talk about how old we'll all be in 12 years because...I'll be fifty?! What?!):
|Rachel, June 2011|
|Rachel, June 2023|
What even gives them the right to get so big?!