DEVIL’S TOWER TO LANDER, WYOMING

7/8/12 – The Carnegie library in Deadwood was spectacular. I carefully photographed it with my 4X5 camera. We then quickly got out of town driving several hours to Devil’s Tower. The writer N. Scott Momaday wrote “There are things in nature that engender an awful quiet in the heart of man; Devil’s Tower is one of them.” This massive rock rising up against the sky has a shocking presence. For obvious reasons it was sacred to the Native Americans.  In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devil’s Tower the nation’s first National Monument to protect it from commercial development. It was fascinating to see how these parks help bring people together that normally wouldn’t mix. Christian bikers from the South, a Native American family, a family from France, Amish people all shared an awe-inspiring experience in this National Monument.  The mingling of different people and the shared experience reminded me of the value of the shared commons in places such as parks and public libraries. Wyoming was big and he distances were vast. I spent most of the time writing the blog from the last two days while Walker drove. We visited the library and Starbucks in Gillette, WY. The library was new and quite interesting and Starbucks hit the spot. Gillette is a coal boomtown and one bumper sticker on a pickup said “My coal powers your electric car.” The Public Library in Buffalo, WY was a beautiful Carnegie. I enjoyed photographing such a pretty building in the afternoon light. Surprisingly, it was open on this Sunday afternoon. I walked inside and told the lady what I was doing. She informed me that this building was now a museum and that the library had moved to the very plain building across the street. After that disappointment we drove over the spectacular Bighorn Mountains. The pass was almost 10,000 feet and Ten Sleep Canyon was one of the most incredible drives on this trip. The town of Ten Sleep, WY had a plain library that actually looked good in the late afternoon light. Ellen and I stopped here in 1983 and it hadn’t changed much since then. After finishing writing the blog for the last two days I typed most of it on my laptop in the car while Walker again drove through a Wyoming sunset. After another long drive we landed in Lander, WY. This wonderful, small town on the edge of the Wind River Mountains even had great dining available late on a Sunday night. After finishing most of the blog I crashed at 1 AM.

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