National Park Service Crush
Mariah and I really missed Harry during the three and a half weeks we were traveling without him. Now that Harry has joined us, he has relieved Mariah from the arduous task of unpacking our car every evening and repacking it each morning. As for me, after driving thousands of miles myself, it is blissful to sit back and relax in the passenger’s seat. He has even installed a rooftop car carrier that gives us a little bit of much needed breathing room in the car. However, there is one small unexpected complication with which Mariah and I have to contend. Evidently, Harry thinks we are all in a spaghetti western. He has adopted a B movie western accent, insists on calling me “lil’ darlin’ ” and feels the need to use the word “butte” every few sentences. As in, “Look a there lil’ darlin’, now that’s a right fine large butte there in the distance”. There are no signs this behavior will abate anytime soon. (A photograph of a butte is included below for your viewing pleasure).
Today we traveled to two remarkable national monuments. So we don’t replicate information, Mariah asked to blog about Mount Rushmore and I offered to blog about The Devil’s Tower National Monument. Both sites were fascinating and ample reward for the long drives to their locations. I have to admit that I have become something of a National Park Service Groupie. My crush started in the winter when I began to do the research for this trip. Their website is remarkably comprehensive, a dream to navigate and overflowing with useful and interesting information. A great many history majors must be employed by the U.S. Department of the Interior researching and writing National Park Service materials. From the moment we have arrived at each of their properties we have been uniformly impressed. Their staff is gracious, the sites are very clean notwithstanding the volume of visitors, the free materials are plentiful and useful, and the exhibits are museum quality. Most importantly, the sites themselves, though familiar, are awe-inspiring.
The Devil’s Tower National Monument is known to many as a consequence of its supporting role in Spielberg’s 1977 movie, “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”. We headed toward the monument in rain and fog, expecting to see it just beyond each of the many turns in the winding road that leads to the site. And then, suddenly, there it was. Huge. Looming. Many times larger than expected. It looks unlike anything else any of us had seen before. It is no wonder that it was the nation’s very first declared national monument In 1906. It is astonishing, rising 1,267 feet above the surrounding area. Everyone visiting the monument just stands in place, mouth open, and gapes at its sheer rock walls with the look that tourists have when they first arrive in New York City and see the lights in Times Square.
We ended our day back in Wyoming at a lovely Bed and Breakfast run by an equally lovely couple in Sheridan, Wyoming. In the morning we head to Cody, Wyoming and then to Yellowstone National Park for the next three nights. The weather forecast is quite dodgy for the next few days. If it rains even a fraction as much as is being forecasted, I will be entirely vindicated for purchasing mother-daughter rain suits from Eastern Mountain Sports in Hyannis. (My husband, Tex, I mean, Harry, already had his own rain gear from his days and nights rustling cattle on the range.)