I was advised to visit this Medicine Wheel, by my waiter at Elk View Lodge, once he learned that I was on a spiritual quest, of sorts. This is ancient structure, first built, apparently, to keep track of the movements and positions of stars such as Aldebaran, Sirius, Rigel and Fomelhaut, particularly with regard to the solstices. The Crow people, and other indigenous nations, send their youth here, as part of the vision quest process.
The U.S. Forest Service maintains the site, as a National Historical Landmark. I was honoured to hike it, and found it to be the westernmost point in what was to prove the heartland of my journey: The Bighorn-Bearlodge-Black Hills crescent. The Medicine Wheel is located about 15 miles east of the Bighorn River, and some 26 miles east of Lovell, WY.
Here are some scenes from my hike up to the Wheel, and of the structure itself. Please don’t be disappointed, but out of respect to the sacred nature of the adornments being placed on the Wheel, as well as that of the Wheel itself, I have one lone photograph of this magnificent structure.
First, here are some views from the trail up Medicine Mountain.
The Forest Service has placed informational signs and benches, at key points along the route.
The limestone surface is unusual for this part of Wyoming.
The route was perfect exercise for me, after a heavy meal at Elk View.
Nearing the summit, I began to pray privately.
At the Wheel itself, I stood to the side, away from other visitors, and continued prayers for healing and protection of a few blessed souls, and for mankind as a whole.
The Medicine Wheel smiles on a wide swath of magnificent Wyoming, and on into Montana.
Next: The Road to Devils/Spirit Tower (aka Bear Lodge)