Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sacred Spaces

While my vacation was mostly for "business" (grad school visits and interviews), I did find few hours here and there to do some hiking. The two areas that I hiked were Vedauwoo (pronounced Vee-da-voo) and Devils Tower, both of which are in Wyoming.

Vedauwoo caught my eye from the highway. It was even more interesting sitting in the middle of the formation. The picture I took is from about 3/4 the way up on one side looking toward the western "peak." Vedauwoo's name comes from an Indian word meaning "earth-born spirit". I loved the feeling that I got from this place and I look forward to visiting the area again. Here is some more information on Vedauwoo if you are interested.

I had always wanted to go to Devils Tower. I decided that since I was "near-by," I would take a side trip while enroute to another destination. When I arrived, I realized that I knew less about the area than I had thought. I knew that it was a sacred place of the Plains Tribes, but I was surprised to see prayer flags tied to many trees all around the base of the Tower near the hiking path. There was a sign near the beginning asking people not to disturb the flags and bundles. (The cloths and bundles are left as prayer offerings.) The picture below is of a tree near the beginning of the trail with many-colored prayer flags.

For more information on the cultures and traditions surrounding The Devil's Tower, check out the National Parks page.


Bernulf said...

Now I'm watering my jealousy seed - Wyoming is the one place I wanted to see in America before leaving, and never saw. Seriously, though, I'm glad you were able to take some time to look around while you were there :)

Autumn said...

Those are both awesome..I love the prayer flags, kinda gives you shivers doesn't it..I want to travel out west sometime. It looks wonderful. Glad you got to visit

Shawn Anthony said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful. Looks very therapeutic too!

Mike said...

Beautiful pics! My only trip out west has been to California, and there's so much to see, and feel, in all those western states.

Sojourner said...

Bjorn - I wanted to visit the area (and certain schools) because of the need to know what I am applying for. Wyoming is a beautiful state.

Autumn - When I saw the flags on the trees, it gave me a sense of the sacred. I ended up walking around the base without talking to people (which I admit is difficult for me to do! I love to talk to people.)

Shawn - It was a very relaxing, theraputic week. :)

Mike - This is the first time EVER that I have west of SD, so it was a very different experience for me. The feeling I get from WY is very different from, say, the east coast. I will have to go out that way again.

Penguin said...

Yes, gorgeous pictures. I understand how spaces are sacred. While in Nevada we visited the Valley of Fire. I had such a spiritual "homecoming" while I was there. Amazing what our Earth can do for us!

Hrafnkell said...

I love Wyoming. I used to own 16 acres north of Cody, at the foot of the Beartooths. I remember taking my kids to Devil's Tower and I wish I'd had time to stop there again this past May. The prayer flags remind me of Bear Butte, also a sacred place to the Plains Tribes. And having climbed it several times, I can understand why. It is a very special place as well, and one to which I always look forward to returning. Lovely pictures and I'll have to look at Vedauwoo next time I get out there. That's one I missed!