28. Bear’s Lodge

Devil’s Tower was the first United States national monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge, when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower”.

Native American names for the monolith include “Bear’s House” or “Bear’s Lodge”; Cheyenne, Lakota Mat?? Th?pila, Crow Daxpitcheeaas?ao “Home of Bears”), “Aloft on a Rock” (Kiowa), “Tree Rock”, “Great Gray Horn”, and “Brown Buffalo Horn” (Lakota Pteh? ??).

We always called it Bear’s Lodge.

We wound up moving to the edge of the campground and spent several days waking up to this beautiful space.

Everyone thinks that the dominant ecological feature of the park is the tower, but it is really the Belle Fourche river that shaped all of what is now the visible landscape.
We couldn’t believe how lucky we were. Definitely show up on a Monday or Tuesday and stay for the week. It seems like a quick stop at first, but there is so much to see!
When we moved on day two, this was the view from our new camp site’s picnic table. Wow!

The igneous material that forms the Bear’s Lodge is a phonolite porphyry intruded about 40.5 million years ago. The tower did not visibly protrude out of the landscape until the overlying sedimentary rocks eroded away. As the elements wore down the softer sandstones and shales, the more resistant igneous rock making up the tower survived the erosional forces. As a result, the gray columns began to appear as an isolated mass above the landscape.

As rain and snow continue to erode the sedimentary rocks surrounding the Tower’s base, more of Bear’s Lodge will be exposed. Nonetheless, the exposed portions of the Tower still experience certain amounts of erosion.

Wolf-Dreaming at dawn beneath Bear’s Lodge ~ River Dog