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Published: October 11th 2007
The Poncho Hooch
In case anyone was beginning to wonder.
Obfuscator writes: We awoke after a fairly restless night at Ayres Natural Bridges, and took the opportunity to once again survey the park. We were hoping to find some better pictures given better lighting conditions, but we found that the morning's lighting was about as unfavorable as the evening's had been, just on the other side. Still, we met a nice old couple from Iowa who were visiting, and we got to walk around the Old Power Station which had a staggering number of broken windows.
We drove quite a bit after that, detouring to see what was marked on our map as Teapot Dome. As some of you may recall from your history courses, or whatever, Teapot Dome was the site of a big scandal early in the 20th Century. We must have passed Teapot Dome (an oilfield) but there were no markers. We were somewhat saddened, but accepted the fact that wherever it specifically was, we saw it. Take that corrupt government!
After more driving, we arrived at our real destination, Devil's Tower. We've all seen Devil's Tower in Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, of course, but the real Devil's Tower was completely devoid of tonal-language
using aliens. A total bust. Well, unless you count the 500 some odd foot igneous tower. It's really quite the spectacle. We walked all the way around it, and saw a lot of lilliputian people climbing all over it's groovy surface. Remarkable! We saw a number of signs telling us how the climbers had to share the football field sized top of the tower with a number of small animals, including the occasional snake. This got me wondering how those animals managed to get up to the top, and moreover, what would inspire animals to even make the attempt. Funny enough, there were also some people from the Montana Conservation Corps working on the paths around the base of the tower. Apparently Wyoming has to outsource for these sorts of things.
There was a bunch more driving after that, including a brief stop in Sundance, where we poked around a very old jail (but not the one that held the Sundance Kid), and grabbed some food. That driving got us to Jewel Cave National Monument (which we found closed), and then on to Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse is really something else. The monument is going to be 563 feet
tall, which will make it the largest monument in the world, or so they claim. Honestly, it dwarfs Mt. Rushmore, and that's really saying something. Of course, as of right now, little more than the head has been completed, and the original sculptor (Korczak Ziolkowski) is dead. The project's been going on since 1948, mostly by his and his family's work, but being there gives you a little glimpse into madness. They have some nice museums and exhibits though, and it's worth the stop, particularly since your admission goes toward the project, which refuses all government funding.
By the time we were done looking around Crazy Horse, it was getting pretty dark, so we knew we wouldn't see much else that night. We had been informed that we could return to Crazy Horse later in the night for a laser show they project up onto the mountain, and we had nothing better to do, so we went back into the nearby town of Custer and got some food, before returning. They SAY, by the way, the Crazy Horse is pointing to where his land is, to where “his dead lie buried.” It seemed fairly obvious to us though that
Crazy Horse is actually pointing to Custer, the very existence of which would have to be a big thorn in the side of a 563 foot tall Indian War Chief.
The laser show was ok. I set up my camera and tripod to try to get some photos, but most of it was moving too fast to get decent shots of. There was definitely some catchy music about the legend of Crazy Horse, though it got us to thinking that he really is more legendary than real, in some respects. The people who administer the monument project have certainly turned him into something far larger than life, and not just in the literal sense. It was the last light show of the season, and it might be worth trying to get there on a warmer summer night, though you'd have to fight the crowds more I'm sure. They also blast on the mountain twice a year, on June 3 and Sept. 6 (the day that Crazy Horse died on, and Korczak was born on, incidentally), and so I'm sure there's special event passes available for that, which would be amazing to see.
We had been told that the
campsite at Lake Pactola was worth using, so we went there after the laser show, and after being unable to find it for quite a while, and then finding most of it closed, we eventually found a spot to lay our gear out, and got to bed quite late.
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