Wyoming’s Strangest Rock Formations
So much of Wyoming was pushed UP by geology.
But much of Wyoming also eroded down.
This post is about to take you through some, but not all, of Wyoming's weirdest rock formations.
Through billions of years of natural climate change, that continues to this day, the landscape around Wyoming has formed in such a way that many of us stare in wonder, wondering, how did that happen?
From the YouTube page Mobile Instinct 2 our traveling host visits Vedauwoo, along I-80 in Wyoming.
Like many explorers to Wyoming, he is astounded at what he sees and wonders how it came to be.
That video is here, below, but that is just the beginning.
Located just off of I-80, between Cheyenne and Laramie is Vedauwoo Wyoming. Probably one of the most strangely beautiful rock formations in Wyoming, and that is saying a lot.
It's worth the road trip to visit. It's more than worth it to say in Cheyenne or Laramie and drive up to Turtle Rock for the day. I suggest camping there, Being surrounded by those wonderful rocks all day and night is nothing short of inspiring.
With odd rock formations like this, it does not take the mind long to start finding human faces and animal shapes. Who knows what else. Just let the imagination run wild.
It is no wonder American Indians thought of this as a spirit-filled place.
There is a 3-mile long trail around Turtle Rock. Come with me and I'll show you the faces and shapes I found on my last camping trip.
The Faces Of Vedauwoo Wyoming
There are many places in Wyoming that I have traveled to and looked in wonder, asking, how did this happen? How long did it take and by what -- in the name of...???
On the eastern side of Wyoming, we have Devil's tower which is one of those monuments that used to be way underground. But continuing land and climate change over a long period of time revealed what was once way underground.
Looking at the land around the tower we can see how millions of years of erosion continue to this day.
When I first moved to Wyoming, about 11 or so years ago, I saw some rock formations the likes of which I had never known existed. I tried describing them to some locals.
"I did not know the Earth did that," I said.
"You found the hoodoos," I was told.
Hearing that word confused me a little. I grew up in the deep South. Down there "hoodoos" mean something very different. It has nothing to do with a rock formation.
The photos you'll see below were taken by artist and photographer Tim Mandese near Casper, Wyoming. But this is just one sort of hoodoo. They can come in many different sizes and shapes.
In the South, the word "hoodoo" comes from Voodoo. It refers to strange spirits or a single strange spirit at work. Down south a hoodoo can be a spirit raised from the dead by voodoo or even a zombie. It could be a spirit that never left or came back naturally. Or it could be a natural spirit like the spirit of nature itself.
The band Creedence Clearwater Revival's hit song Born On A Bayou mentions a boy's dog chasing after a strange spirit that the boy could not see.
I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'
Chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there
I wondered how the word that I had grown up within the South had made it to Wyoming and was used for rock formations. The answer actually makes a lot of sense.
To the American Indian strange rock formations happened because of the presence of strange spirits. These areas were considered sacred ground and in some cases even left alone.
When new people came across the land in covered wagons they asked the Indians what caused those strange formations. They were told, "strange spirits." This made sense, and there was already a word for those strange spirits. Hoodoos.
At some point, the name for these strange spirits was attached to the rock formations themselves. Now the strange rock formations are called hoodoos rather than it referring to the strange spirits active in the area.
The gentleman in the video below is hiking an area called The Hoodoos in Yellowstone National Park.
Devil's Tower is a massive hoodoo. Hell's Half Acre as well as Devil's Gate are hoodoo formations. Do you notice how many of these places are named after spirit things, even in English?
When white men first saw Devils Tower they asked the Indians what it was called. The Indians tried to explain the "bad god," or perhaps the "mischievous god" that caused it and who inhabited the area. The closest translation the white man had for that was The Devil. So, they began to call it Devils Tower. That is not what the Indians meant and they are not happy about the translation to this day.
So, if you are exploring Wyoming and you see rock formations of any sort that leave you scratching your head just remember, this is sacred ground. Strange spirits are active here. Tread carefully and be respectful.
The Hidden Treasures Of Wyoming's Natural Bridge
Driving Wyoming's Badwater Road
There is a road that even those who were born and raised in Wyoming might not know about. Yet it is one of the most beautiful drives in the state.
If you suffer from "get-there-itus" then this is not the trip for you. But if you want an all-day trip where you plan to jump out and look at one awe-inspiring view after the next, you'll want to start on Badwater Road and head north.