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Big Horns, Medicine Wheel, and the Pryors

Last week I took off for a few days and went to the Big Horns.  I intended to go for 3 days, but got rained out on the second evening.  I had been to the Pryors a few days before, and was quite taken with the area so I wanted to explore it more.  The Pryors are sacred to the Crow Indians.  Part of the land is on Crow Reservation and not accessible to the public.  Some of the mountains are in Montana, and some in Wyoming, with a section of it reserved for Wild Horses.  The entire area is considered a Wilderness Study Area, which means that it’s pending designated Wilderness.  Rarely visited, its a special place.  There are some old uranium mines there and mining claims.

Since Day 1 was really hot, I decided to backtrack to the Pryors and head first for the Big Horns.  My main intention was to go to The Medicine Wheel.   This is a holy site for many Plains Indians tribes.  Its a place of pilgrimage.

Entrance to Medicine Wheel

Signage at the site notes that some people can prepare for a year before making the trip.  A young Forest Ranger was stationed at the Wheel to make sure there was no vandalism, and if Native Americans wanted to go inside, he had a key.  When ceremonies are conducted, the site is closed to tourists.

He told me that years ago, before there was such tight control, tourists (not Native Americans) would take home rocks from the structure as souvenirs. In fact, he said, the height of the circle of rocks was 2′ or 3′ taller than it is today.

I was reminded that in Uluru, tourists sometimes take home pieces from the sacred site.  There is a large collection of rocks that were mailed back to Uluru because tourists went home and felt they were brought bad luck, bad karma, or whatever, from taking souvenirs from the site.Medicine Wheel signageI circumambulated the Wheel three times and left a small gift at the East facing entrance.  Its a wonderful and mysterious place.  Some say it was constructed by Sheepeaters.

From there I took the Jaws hike down a beautiful canyon opposite the Wheel.  I saw several moose and deer with their antlers in velvet.

The jaws hike

The jaws hike

Along the canyon hike

Along the canyon hike

The next day I went to the Pryors.  It was overcast and drizzling, perfect weather for hiking in this exposed country.  The Pryors were an ancient Indian route through the Big Horn Canyon.  There are many spots right along the main road of the Recreation Area with teepee rings.  Instead of going along the main road, I took a 4×4 track.

Pryor Mountain Wild Horse RangeThe Pryors

Koda matches

Koda matches

On the way out I encountered a mama wild turkey on her clutch of eggs.Wild Turkey on eggs

Wild turkey eggs

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3 Responses

  1. Wonderful to see places like this!

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  2. Dear Leslie,
    I “found” your Blog-site while searching for a photo or drawing of a bison footprint. What a blessing you are! I am proud of my Kiowa Apache,albeit small bloodline, grew up in part in Siskiyou County with a wood-burning stove, had a wolf-shepherd for a best friend, lived for a brief 5 years in Colorado, have yearned of visiting Montana & Wyoming for years, and have had severe wilderness withdrawals and yearnings for as long as I can remember. All I think of is how to get back there. It is such a great blessing to read your thoughts and feelings on the beauty of the land God has blessed us with caring for that you experience. We are stewards only and should feel, think and act accordingly. Your points of view are well-taken. I look forward to reading more. Please keep up your wonderful “work”! p.s. I am somewhat computer illiterate – Is there a way for me to receive your latest “blogs” automatically?? Sincerely,
    Loree

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  3. Thank you Loree for your kind words.
    Your request prompted me to set up a way to subscribe for email blog updates. Now, just click on the ‘Subscribe’ link on the sidebar and you can receive the new postings automatically.
    As they say “You can take the gal out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the gal.” Visit soon!

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