The first time I saw the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I was fascinated by the weird looking tower shown in the movie. At the time, I thought it was a prop erected on the movie set to achieve the necessary effect for the movie. However, later on I learned that the thing really exists and it is in Wyoming, known as Devils Tower and I have been wanting to see it in person ever since. However, its location is not conducive to a spur-of-moment afternoon jaunt even when we were at Yellowstone NP a few years ago. American Flag with Devils TowerFor this trip, it was a focus point of our route planning: we wanted to make sure we would be able to pass by it.

After we left Badlands National Park, we headed straight for Devils Tower National Monument. We took a scenic route so we approached the Tower from north. We were getting anxious as we knew that it would appear any seconds as we drove around small hills on road 24. Then it magically appeared. It seemed surreal just like it was in the movie. There wasn’t anything else around it as it towered 1267 ft over the surrounding like a giant chocolate pudding begging for a visit.

We arrived at the Devils Tower and admired it from its base: it was magnificent. There were a lot of people there, many of them were bikers from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as it was a part of their official tour route. Climber on Devils TowerI saw with a binocular some climbers up on the tower. I always admire climbers: their ability to sleep suspended in the air, their strength to support their own weight with one finger and their courage to hang hundreds of feet in air. That’s incredible. It would be great to be up on the tower however there was only a trail going around the base and we were not capable of scaling the tower. Maybe Kadia and Bryden could do it someday.

The campground was nice and had a great view of the Tower. The Devils Tower was a sacred ground for Indians where it was raised by the Great Spirit to keep bears away from six Sioux girls. The bears tried to climb the tower but failed and left scratch marks on the tower. There weren’t many people camping there, perhaps because of the heat. We were tempted to stay there but we decided not to because we needed a bath that night. Next time we will bring the ladder to heaven from the Badlands.

On this trip, we were in many places that bore the devil’s name: Devil’s Kitchen in Canyonlands NP, Devil’s Garden in Arches NP, Devil’s Punchbowl in Oregon, Seven Devils State Recreation Site in Oregon, and Devil’s Hole State Park in New York. We had also been to a few others in the past: Devil’s Postpile NM in California, Devil’s Golf Course in Death Valley NP, Devil’s Backbone in Crater Lake NP, and Devil’s Slide in Yellowstone NP. There are probably many more that we haven’t heard of. Over 90% of Americans are affiliated with some kind of religion (a stunning number from my perspective), perhaps that explains the fascination with the devil. But one thing I can be certain is that any devil-named place is almost a guarantee to have some unique features more applicable to heaven instead. So visit all places with the name Devil in it.

Any places with the name of Heaven, anyone? I can only think of a ski resort, Heavenly.