The U.S. Provides Both the Angel and the Devil for Hikers


The U.S. Provides Both the Angel and the Devil for Hikers

 by ZZ Troutski

Hiking is an incredible way to entertain, exercise, and rejuvenate. And what most people sometimes lose sight of – while we’re all looking into the screens of laptops and cell phones – is the fact that the Great Outdoors offers some of the most majestic sights in this world. The visuals are stunning – far better than any photograph that can be downloaded.


When it comes to the four-color visual experience, there are two specific sites that can not be missed by the enthusiast; sites that sit at opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum.


The first to see resides in everyone’s favorite – The Grand Canyon. There is a place called Angel’s Window in that area that is the most breathtaking to be seen. Grand Canyon National Park is the 15th oldest park in the U.S.. However, because of its view-of-angel-windowextreme beauty and unmatched geological and geographical monuments, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.


With the Canyon, most sportsmen/women think immediately of the gorge where the Colorado River races through; a spot where white-water rafting is beyond thrilling. But there is far more included in this Natural Wonder of the World.


On the North Rim’s Cape Royal is a place that looks like a framed portrait for an angel. Any angel that’s vying to see the ‘good’ that exists on Earth can find it right here. A natural arch overlooks the big bend where the canyon turns west, and there is no view that offers a better perspective between the high and mighty walls of the gorge and the utter flatness of the red rock that it sliced through so long ago. The reds, the yellows and oranges, the pinks that light the sky as the sun sets across escarpments – this area takes your breath away.


But it’s not all the colors of sunset and desert. The North Rim is also filled with forests and bright, brilliant wildflowers that can be seen for miles. Cool in the summertime, incredible lightning strikes occur over this monolithic locale that are absolutely amazing. (But be careful. Only angels can fly; hiking is a skill, and this monumental trek must be planned carefully in order to enjoy the beauty of the world around you.)


On the opposite end of the spectrum, offering not only stunning beauty but also a touch of eerie to the scene, a hiker can head to Wyoming and take a look at the Devils Tower National Monument. The eerie quality comes from the fact that the landform seems almost impossible to create. The land is flat, yet the Tower has sides that have formed into smooth, upward arcs.


The summit rises over 1,200 feet in the air, soaring above Wyoming’s Belle Fourche River. Although referred to in a more evil light by the name, tribes from Shoshone to Crow; Kiowa to Arapaho, believe profusely that the Tower is a sacred object. Of course, their names for the landmass also run a gamut of things, such as Mythic-owl Mountain and Ghost Mountain.


As with everything ‘odd’ in this world, myths have formed around the Tower; tales of creation and redemption – tales of a hero who perhaps roamed the area and caused greatness in a moment of man’s weakness – take your pick. Scientists say that the smooth form is because of molten igneous rock that somehow appeared beneath sedimentary layers. Here, the heated stone hardened, so that when erosion eventually came about the Tower would look like a smooth, glistening shape.


Avid rock climbers race to this spot in order to climb the columns, trying their best to reach the top so they can look out over the Black Hills and perhaps see what no one else before them has even glanced.


The colors here are certainly not as bright and beautiful as the Angel’s Window immersed in the Grand Canyon. The Tower offers dark, sinister-looking red sandstone and maroon siltstone, held together with shale. A very thin band of white gypsum can also be found; called the Gypsum Springs Formation, it has supposedly been in place since the Jurassic period.


There have been a slew of theories about this incredibly dark and mysterious place, yet no theory has proven completely how it came to be. Perhaps, only an angel can see what the Devil’s Tower is really all about.


These are the places. These are the spots that must be seen by the outdoor enthusiast. And for those who have always wished to climb that unfathomable Tower, take the time this summer to do just that.

Source: Sportsmans Life / Baret News Wire