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Yellowstone and the Beartooth Highway PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Prohl    Tuesday, 04 November 2014 08:24

Yellowstone beckons

(Yellowstone beckons)

Day Two of our summer road trip found us heading for the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park for a bit of an odd reason. Not that there’s anything particularly odd about going to Yellowstone in the summer. Thousands of people do. In fact I think they all showed up the same day we did. To say it’s a popular destination is like saying McDonald’s sells a few burgers. As we sat just east of Mammoth Hot Springs in a traffic backup – and I mean bumper to bumper, dead stop, rush-hour type stuff – which stretched for several miles, I couldn’t help asking myself the question: if all these  folks, including me, are visiting Yellowstone to “get away and escape to nature” but we end up trapped in our vehicles sitting in horrible traffic jams, what exactly have we accomplished?

On the Beartooth Highway near 11,000 feet elevation

(On the Beartooth Highway near 11,000 feet elevation)

Yellowstone, where the buffalo roam...

(Yellowstone, where the buffalo roam...)

Road Trip 2014 Part 3: Theodore Roosevelt National Park PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Prohl    Wednesday, 08 October 2014 07:00

Inside the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP)

(Inside the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP))

The American West is such a vast, sprawling expanse of land encompassing so many diverse geographical regions that I think anyone who has seen most of it would be hard pressed to designate any one place as their favorite. I find myself facing much the same dilemma when someone asks me to name my favorite national park. Sometimes I think the answer would be whatever one I happen to be in right now, or have most recently visited. Maybe that’s a glib answer but it often feels like the truth.

Oxbow Overlook of Little Missouri River

(Oxbow Overlook of Little Missouri River)

Painted Canyon, South Unit

(Painted Canyon, South Unit)

Road Trip 2014 Part Two: Devils Tower PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Prohl    Tuesday, 16 September 2014 10:35

Approaching Devils Tower from the south

(Approaching Devils Tower from the south)

Devils Tower was the first declared National Monument, being so designated by Theodore Roosevelt on September 24, 1906. Technically it’s an igneous intrusion of rock formed millions of years ago. Despite lots of attention and studies throughout the years, geologists still can’t completely agree on exactly how it was formed or whether it’s a volcanic remnant or not. To your average non-geologist layman, none of this really matters too much. Devils Tower is just a cool looking gigantic pile of greenish-gray columnar rock.

Getting closer

(Getting closer)

Devils Tower dominates the local landscape as it erupts some 1,200 feet above the surrounding plains of northeast Wyoming, and can be seen as a small bump on the horizon from as far as forty miles away. The name Devils Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Col. Richard Irving Dodge when someone misinterpreted the Indian name to mean Bad God's Tower, which then became Devil's Tower. The tower was a sacred place for many of the Plains Indian tribes including the Lakota, Cheyenne, Crow, Shoshone, Kiowa and more, and each of them had their own name for it. Strangely enough, all of the Indian names involved bears: Bear’s House, Bear’s Lair, Home of Bears, Bear’s Lodge, Bear’s Lodge Butte, Grizzly Bear Lodge…well, you get the idea. They thought bears lived there.

Boulder debris field at the base of Devils Tower

(Boulder debris field at the base of Devils Tower)

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