Bear Lodge – Devils Tower National Monument

Here we are, back in the saddle after a (much too) long break. It has been a while since we filled in the last details of our cross-country road trip, but some of our last stops were too amazing to never share. After an amazing week hiking and rafting in Jackson Hole, we began the long drive home. Our first stop was Devils Tower National Monument.

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Many of the amazing natural land forms around the west were considered sacred by the different Native American tribes scattered across the land. Each tribe has their own mythology surrounding Devils Tower with many amazing origin stories. My favorite is the the Kiowa and Lakota’s story.

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Some younger girls in the tribe were out playing when they encountered some aggressive grizzly bears. Knowing they could not outrun them, they fell to their knees and prayed. The gods lifted up the ground under them forming the large tower. Frustrated, the grizzlies scratched the sides of the tower with their claws leaving the well known vertical cracks in the side of the tower. It became know among the Lakota as Bear Lodge.

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We now know that Devils Tower is volcanic in nature. The enormous columns of angular rock are columnar basalt: magma that cooled into long multi-sided pillars. While not all geologists agree on the exact origin of the 1,267 foot tower, most theories involve an old volcano in which the magma cooled before erupting. Similar formations can be seen at Devils Postpile National Monument in California, the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, and various places out west.

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With still a long way to drive that night (plus no schedule campsite), Jessica and I took a quick tour of the monument. We hiked along its base and marveled at its incredible mass and scale. Returning to the car we made a visit to the prairie dog towns. Jessica took this opportunity to remain in the car–away from the gross rodents–while I wandered among the prairie dogs without a visa.

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Prairie dogs have a large set of distinct calls that they use to warn the group of threats. They were definitely using their “tall dude with a camera” call while I was walking through their town, and I felt bad for interrupting their routines. Eventually, the prairie dogs stopped caring that I was there, and I was able to grab some awesome shots with my 400mm zoom lens.

IMG_0671IMG_0665While Devils Tower was the main attraction, the whole area around the monument is remote and beautiful. The grasses and plants were blooming with subtle yellows and purples which added a wonderful color to every view. While the monument was a few hours out of the way, both Jessica and I were glad we had visited. Here are a few more shots of the area.

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The Double U’s

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The Double U’s are a set of links that I’ve come across in the past week. They are simply a collection of items, articles, ideas, or videos that have caught my fancy.

Whether you visit one or all, please enjoy.  

1. A colleague wears jewelry from this line and I love it. Plus, how cool is it to call yourself the Metal Monk?! (donyalynnobrien.com)

2. More plaid scarves for fall. (llbean.com)

3. Who knew that Pottery Barn Kids has some GREAT lighting and rug options? Now, I do! (pbkids.com)

4. Handmade ceramics by Vitrified Studio. (etsy.com)

5. Homemade Decadence = Future Deliciousness. (joythebaker.com)

6. New show on HGTV featuring Sarah Richardson. PUMPED. (sarahrichardsondesign.com)

7. Celebrities and pumpkins…you just have to see for yourself. (domainehome.com)

And we’re back!

Since returning from our road trip this summer, posting has been sporadic. Okay, non-existent is probably a more accurate term, and part of me has felt badly about this. But, if I’m being perfectly honest I’ve also just been way too busy to really put forth the effort.

Going back to work, taking graduate school classes, taking care of Maisie, planning for the wedding, and moving (more on that later) have made this fall one thing: CRAZY. I haven’t exercised in weeks. My car up until a day or two ago looked like the town dump and our apartment, despite a weekly effort to clean it, never actually felt clean. Thankfully, I’ve managed to keep my job, turn in all of my graduate school work and Maisie continues to grow (4.5 mths, 45 lbs!). So, I’ve accomplished something.

That being said, the past week or so has brought with it a sense of calm that I haven’t felt since August, and I’m ever so thankful. Slash keeping my fingers crossed it lasts. A large part of this is due to the fact that Tyler and I have finally found a new place to call home.  Let’s face it people. As fun as apartment-hunting can be, it’s also stressful.

Our new place is very different than our current home. It’s the first floor of a big Victorian home, and reads “old and charming” as opposed to “young and hip” like our loft. Nonetheless, we’re psyched. It’s larger. It’s closer to work, and it’s on the first floor, making it WAY easier to deal with Maisie. It also means lots of decorating to be done! =)

For the moment, we don’t have pictures to share, but the wheels have definitely been spinning, and I’m excited to share my thoughts/plans for our future space. Stay tuned!