Ranch Vacation – Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark

When you are preparing to embark on your cattle drive vacation with Dryhead Ranch, you might want to consider what to do during your downtime in Lovell, Wyoming. Luckily, even though it is a relatively small town, Lovell is awash with history and adventure. Located a mere 37 miles from town (which, in Wyoming, is right next door), Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark is one of the Lovell area’s most spectacular features.

Cattle Ranch Vacation Idea – Medicine Mountain National Historic Monument

One of Wyoming’s most notable landmarks, this medicine wheel located on top of Medicine Mountain remains a spiritual center for indigenous peoples and spiritual seekers alike. Thousands of people take the long hike up the mountain for a chance to see this piece of true American pre-history.

Nestled at the top of a mountain in Bighorn National Forest, Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark features the Bighorn Medicine Wheel. This structure, located at the 9462 foot summit of Medicine Mountain, is made from thousands of bread loaf-sized bricks and measures about 80 feet in diameter, containing 28 radial spokes. Around the perimeter of the main circle are 28 standing stones. It was built before Europeans set foot on the North American continent, a testimony of the indigenous peoples’ beliefs as well as their engineering prowess. It continues to be used by indigenous peoples today, as well as by a variety of spiritual seekers who believe the place has special spiritual significance.

Ancient Beliefs

At various times, the Crow and Arapaho as well as other indigenous peoples have used the Bighorn for their special rituals. Some even say that “little people” live in the caves on Medicine Mountain, offering their aid to supplicants who approach them with the ancient prayers and rituals.

The Bighorn Medicine Wheel’s Astronomical Significance

The sheer scale and craftsmanship of the Bighorn Medicine Wheel might be impressive in and of themselves, but there are other features of the Bighorn Medicine Wheel that are even more intriguing. The Wheel contains seven stone circles, with one in the center and the other six located at certain points around the perimeter. By aligning themselves using these circles in certain combinations, it was possible for ancient peoples to determine the exact dates of some important astronomical phenomenon. Summer and winter solstices as well as vernal and autumnal equinoxes were easily marked on these “stone calendars.” In addition, the rising of particular stars from set perspectives would indicate other important events during the indigenous peoples’ year.

Cattle Drive Vacation – Clear Skies and Amazing Memories

Unless you are here, it is almost impossible to describe the sheer scales of the west. The land goes on and on until it hits the mountains which themselves go on and on until they finally meet the sky which goes on and on, and on and on. On cattle ranch vacations, our guests see for themselves why they call Montana Big Sky Country.

It is hard to describe the Wyoming sky at night during one of Dryhead Ranch’s working ranch vacations, especially if you haven’t been out to the country for a while. There is something especially satisfying watching our city-dwelling customers see it for the first time. “There’s just so much out there!” is something we hear pretty often. The Milky Way is hard to get enough of, and finding the planets is always an amusing way to spend some time. Why not hike to the summit of Medicine Mountain and try some of the Astronomical alignments yourself during your stay in Lovell? You’re guaranteed a spectacular view. And, with the reasonable pace of our cattle drive vacations, you’ll have the energy you’ll need to explore during your time in the Lovell home base.

Interested in a Cattle Drive Vacation? Send us Your Questions or Comments.

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