At 40 million years old Devil’s Tower has certainly endured. But what you may not know is this towering rock was sacred to more than twenty Native American Plains Tribes hundreds of years ago. As remarkable as Devil’s Towers physical endurance is its spiritual endurance in the minds, hearts and souls of today’s Native Americans who continue to pilgrimage the site for sacred rituals. If you look closely you’ll see little prayer bags hanging on trees.

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Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming


For more information about the Tribes of Devil’s Tower check out the NPS site

Check out other posts for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

For the Love of Geography: Pyramidal peak


Grand Teton

A pyramidal peak or glacial horn is a sharply pointed mountain peak usually with three sides. When three or more glacial cirques erode backwards to a central point they form a triangular peak, a pyramidal peak or horn.


Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

The number of faces on a horn depends on how many cirques come together, however the most common is three or four. When a peak has four symmetrical sides it’s called a matter horn after the Matterhorn peak in the Alps.


Teton Range

Protected Places: Mount Saint Helens National Monument

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In May of 1980 lava exploded from the side of Mount St Helens blowing the top off this mountain. Before the 1980 eruption Mount St Helens rose 9,677 ft above sea level. The blast reduced the mountain to 8,366 ft, a loss of over 1,300 ft. I was living in Indiana during the eruption, far way in safety but I remember pinkish skies and a lot of cloudiness.

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Twenty-five years later I visited the park. While she didn’t erupt she occasionally let off steam demonstrating volcanic activity is still present. I didn’t see much wild life but I must say, these are the friendliest chipmunks ever. They climb all over you hoping you’ll feed them.

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Mount Saint Helens is a stratovolcano which is the most explosive type of volcano. This is common in the Cascade Range. Mount Rainier (pictured below), another stratovolcano, is clearly visible from overlooks at the national monument.

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Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument was established on August 27, 1982 by then President Ronald Reagan. The monument is located nearly 100 miles southeast of Seattle, Washington within Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

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For the Love of Geography: Glacial Erratics

A glacial Erratic is a large boulder that was transported by glacier to an area of different rock in type and size. These erratics can be transported hundreds of miles.

Plymouth Rock, Plymouth MA & Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

For the Love of Geography: U-Shape Valley

U-Shaped valleys are just what they sound like – a valley shaped like a “U”. These valleys are the result of glaciers carving further into an existing depression created from a river called a v-shaped valley. The valley is transformed from gradually sloping side to steep sides and a flat bottom. Rivers often remain from glacial melting that replace the original river. U-shaped valleys are found at high mountain altitudes worldwide.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington

For the Love of Geography: Moraine

Moraine is a glacial landforms which results from glacial movement. As a glacier moves down the mountain it leaves behind debris of dirt and boulders.

Look below the glaciers in these photos. It looks like a river of rock. This is the debris left from the glaciers above which have retreated for the summer months.

Grand Teton National Park

Spotlight on Florida: Key West

Key West is a beautiful island at the farthest end of the Florida Keys. Although a popular tourist destination the island retains old world charm. You wont find chain stores or McDonald’s. You will find fishing and boating harbors, museums, art and crafts stores and fine dining. You wont even find a “real” beach but you can swim in the manmade beach.


One place I’ve wanted to visit is Ernest Hemingway’s Key West Home. It seems no matter what I do I just can’t seem to get there before close. Just too busy swimming I guess.

Another popular attraction is the marker doing Key West as the most southern point in the continental United States and only 90 miles from Cuba.


For the Love of Geography: Arêtes

We continue our study on mountain glacial landforms with the arête.

An arête is formed by two glaciers scouring away rock on two sides of a mountain. The result is a thin ridge of rock which separates two U-Shaped valleys. Weathering further erodes the rock thus shaping and sharpening the feature. Arêtes can also be formed when two cirques erode.

For the Love of Geography: Tarn (glacial lake)

A TARN is a lake created in a cirque by glacial melt water, rain,  river runoff or a combination.

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Lake Jenny, Lassen National Volcanic Park, California

For the Love of Geography – Cirque

A cirque is a semicircular shaped bedrock feature high on mountainside partially surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs. Cirques are created by the advancing and retreating of glaciers. The basin becomes deeper and wider in diameter each year as it continues to be eroded. An interesting feature of a cirque is the tarn or glacial lake which results from melting glaciers.


Cirque, Grand Teton, Wyoming

Sometimes multiple cirques will form, the rock in between is an arête, a steep ridge dividing the two cirques. When three cirques form the result is a glacial horn (or pyramidal peak) such as the Matterhorn in the Alps or Irene’s Arête in the Tetons.

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Cirques and arêtes, Mount Moran, Wyoming

Photos taken at Grand Teton National Park