Monday, June 16th – Little Bighorn Battlefield & Devils Tower National Monuments
Alright, I know I’m a baaaaaad blogger! Here it is 2 months after our vacation, and I’m still trying to get up posts from our vacation! Time has gone too quickly!!
This day, the only planned stop was to be Devils Tower, but after looking at the map, we saw that we’d drive right past the Little Big Horn Battlefield, and thought we’d stop to visit.
I thought the Little Big Horn Battlefield was going to be maybe a 1/2 hour stop, just a big field, here’s where it happened, snap a few pictures and move on. Boy, was I wrong! It was much bigger than I had thought!
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is the site of the June 25, 1876 battle between the U.S. Army’s 7th cavalry and several bands of Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho. This area memorializes one of the last armed efforts of the Northern Plains Indians to preserve their way of life. Here in 1876, 263 soldiers and attached personnel of the U.S. Army, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer, met death at the hands of several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. The battle of the Little Bighorn is also well known as “Custer’s Last Stand.”
Markers honoring the Indians who fought at Little Big Horn, including Crazy Horse, have been added to those of the U.S. troops. The warriors’ red speckled granite memorial markers dot the ravines and hillsides just as do the white marble markers representing where soldiers fell.
The bill signed by George H.W. Bush in 1991changed the name of the national monument from Custer Battleground N.M to Little Bighorn Battlefield N.M also called for an “Indian Memorial” to be built near Last Stand Hill. It is fairly common at national battle sites in the United States for combatants on both sides of the conflict to be honored.
From Little Bighorn Battlefield, we traveled to Devils Tower. Devils Tower rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. Devils Tower is 867 feet from its base to the summit. Once hidden, erosion has revealed Devils Tower. This 1347 acre park is covered with pine forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife are seen.
Also known as Bears Lodge, it is a sacred site for many American Indians. We saw many prayer ribbons tied to trees along the trail.
President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument in 1906.
We decided to hike the 1.25 mile Tower Trail which circles the Tower. It was absolutely beautiful, and very scenic! We saw lots of vultures flying above Devils Tower. We were surprised to find out that the top of Devils Tower is approximately the same size as a football field! We even saw a deer resting just a little ways off the trail. When you walk the Tower Trail, it was amazing to see the different sides of Devils Tower, it almost seems to take on a different shape at each angle.
I was really glad to finally see this monument in person. Devils Tower gained gained international fame when Close Encounters of the Third Kind debuted. I remember watching this 1977 movie (gosh, I’m dating myself here!), and we watched as Richard Dreyfus molded the tower out of his mashed potatoes and built a scale model of it in his living room. It’s much more impressive in person!
To see pictures from the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, CLICK HERE!!
To see pictures from the Devils Tower National Monument, CLICK HERE!!