This weekend I joined the Ski-Joring fun as a cowboy on a galloping horse pulled a skier down Sundance’s Main Street through an obstacle course complete with snow jumps. No joke! Later on I witnessed creative locals compete with a barstool and an old pair of skis in the wild and wooly Downhill Barstool Races. What people won’t do to beat the winter blues.
Sundance! Let the name spark your imagination of days long ago when rowdy cowboys whooped it up on Saturday nights or perhaps you envision serene Native American villages camped at the base of the Sundance Mountain where they performed their sacred Sun Dance ceremonies. This historic town welcomes visitors to come and explore the rich history and soak in the vibrant vistas where the beauty of the rugged west comes alive. This weekend it’s the 4th Annual Sundance Winter Festival and had sledding for the kids, food vendors raising money for mission trips and live entertainment at the pubs. I’m looking forward to other year-round events.
Nearby is Devil’s Tower National Monument standing 867 feet and not to be missed. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Dodge, when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower”. The first time I saw Devils Tower I was a child, traveling with my parents. I don’t remember if they told me about it; I just saw it as we came around a curve in the road. I was dumbstruck and pretty much still feel the same way today.
According to the Native American tribes of the Lakota, a group of girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower. When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the stars of the Pleiades. There are similar versions from the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes.
In recent years, climbing Devils Tower has increased in popularity. The first known ascent of Devils Tower by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. Today, hundreds of climbers scale the sheer rock walls of Devils Tower each summer. I will NOT be attempting this activity.
Let the adventures begin!