This will be short on photos, mostly because it was largely raining that night, from Gillette to the Devils Tower park campground.
As I came down the mountain from Medicine Wheel, my heart was still very much in prayer. Aram called at about the halfway point of the descending drive, just shy of Dayton. It was a good 45-minute break from driving, and we covered all of what was up with him, and with me. It’s always worth the time, and we come away understanding one another’s positions. So, he knew how I felt about things, and people, and why. There’s nothing earth-shaking about it, but I think maintaining clear communication channels obviates messy interpersonal situations later on.
Dayton and Ranchester are lovely, now quiet farm towns. In the 1890’s, though, the area had its share of the conflict between the U.S. Cavalry and Plains Indians, being not that far from Little Big Horn.
The Battle of Tongue River took place in what is now Ranchester.
Indian Wars always leave me in a dumpy mood. The whole concept of owning the Earth is rather dicey, though I know we have to have some form of identity. Still, setting oneself apart from others, by means of ownership, kind of countermands the sense of responsibility that ownership implies. There are homes of friends, which I cannot visit, because one or more of the owners has/have serious trust issues. Fortunately, most of these are places I seldom visit, anyway.
The Tongue River, and its commemorative park in Ranchester, provide relative peace and solace for about two dozen people, on any given night between May and October.
After eating a picnic supper here, I headed on through Sheridan, Buffalo, Gillette and Moorcroft, without stopping, It was raining, hard, all the way to Devils Tower National Monument. A friend had shown me photos of shimmering lights circumnabulating the Tower’s summit, while cautioning that these might be Photoshopped. Still, I had hope for the magic to break out of the clouds, and elected to sleep under the stars, when I awoke in my car, at 1:30 A.M., and saw a beautiful, clear sky. Rolling out my tarp, mattress pad and sleeping bag, I reveled in the silhouette of the Tower, set under the shining canopy. Sleep came easy, until 5:45, when it was time to hustle over to the Tower Trail.
Next: Tower of the Spirits