Faces of Stone
When we woke in the morning, we ate a quick breakfast and hiked around the base of the towering monument. Devils Tower is located in the northeast corner of Wyoming. Its striated sides rose high over head. Many Native American tribes have legends about how the massive mesa was created. Most center around seven women. The Kiowa legend said .that the seven sisters were chased by bears and climbed onto a short rock. They prayed to the rock for help and it became taller and out of the reach of the bears. The bears still tried to reach the women, clawing at the sides. The bears broke their claws, but the tower was left with the long rivulets down its sides.
Once we had circled the base, it was time to leave. We climbed into the vans and began the next leg of our journey. We were on our way to Mount Rushmore. The ruggedness of the road as it wound its way into South Dakota and into the park. The carvings came into view. We parked the vans and walked through the entrance. Slowly the size and the whiteness of the faces of the president’s faces awed us. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt had been shaped out from the side of a granite mountain in the Black Hills.
Blue sky and trees made a frame for the sculptures. After a trip through the souvenir shop, it was time to get on the road again. The road drove through Wall, South Dakota and we had to stop and tour Wall Drug. Wall drug is a multiple-celled attraction. It was like the old Pechin’s Market on steroids, but cleaner and better constructed. There was a huge dining area that served all types of food, including buffalo burgers. Others shops were collected under an all inclusive roof, selling souvenirs, clothing, books, and even boots.
The pastor did a roundup of the wandering campers. It was time for us to head out to our overnight camp site. There had been some kind of mix up and our campsite was already occupied by a crew of rafters. The site across the road was empty and we claimed the spot. There were no showers, so the campers had to do cold wash-offs during the evening.
It was another episode of setting up tents and making our evening meal in the dark. The weather was absolutely beautiful. The grass was long and lush. There was a soft warm breeze. The stars were bright overhead. The boys and the men unrolled their sleeping bags in the soft grass on the top of a small knoll and almost immediately fell asleep.