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Where To Go Next for Friday, June 27


Today's Travel News
Friday, June 27, 2008

Devils Tower: A close encounter of the rainy kind

By Tom Adkinson
Marco Polo Member, Society of American Travel Writers

In my mind's eye, my first view of Devils Tower would be a golden moment. The western sun would illuminate the soaring Wyoming monolith against a powerfully blue sky and perhaps reveal a nutcase climber as he tried to scale its heights.

That's not what happened. Here's what did.

Rain splattered on the windshield as we approached Devils Tower National Monument. The sky was steely gray, the wind blew cold and there were two school buses in the parking lot of the visitors center. It was inauspicious, to say the least.

Even at a distance, Devils Tower dominates the horizon, a perfect site for Spielberg's aliens.

Devils Tower is in eastern Wyoming, just over the line from the Black Hills of South Dakota and technically part of that region. Devils Tower as we know it today is the result of millions of years of erosion and the forethought of Teddy Roosevelt, who as president stretched the meaning of a law to make this site America's first national monument.

If you're of a certain vintage, you've seen Devils Tower, even if you don't realize it. Stephen Spielberg made this peculiar geologic formation famous in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."


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