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Sky People of the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Sky People of the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming Wades in the Earth and the Original People through Susan Sampson

On July 9, 2014, I turned off Route 14A in the Big Horn Mountains of Northeastern Wyoming, then drove on a dirt road up to a small parking lot. The ranger of the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark (at 9,625 feet elevation) explained that archaeologists had excavated the center of the Medicine Wheel and found wood that was dated at 250 years old. Other artifacts found in and around the site indicate that the site is between 5,000 to 10,000 years old.

I walked 1.5 miles to the 80-foot diameter medicine wheel at the domed top of one of the Big Horn Mountains. There, the land falls away to a flat valley to the west, and to the east, there are valleys and hills with other mountains beyond.

The wheel is constructed of white stones with twenty-eight spokes and six stone cairns placed around the outer edges of the wheel. The six cairns are large enough for a person to sit within them. The height of the medicine wheel varies but is no taller than two feet.