Black Hills to Medicine Mountain

by Liz Jansen

Yesterday marked the end of my visit with author Ed McGaa, (Eagle Man), author of multiple books on Native Spirituality and Earth Wisdom. Introduced to his book Nature’s Way earlier this year, I knew immediately that I wanted to interview him and learn more.

At 78, he’s hard to keep up with. He works seven days a week at Crazy Horse Memorial, selling his books and doing what he does best—engaging with a constant stream of people who want to know more about Native American history and spirituality. It leaves little time for trout fishing and pickleball, his favorite sport—one that I’d not heard of.

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In reading his books or speaking with him, his driving message is the need to live in better relationship with the earth. Even before environmentalism and climate change were hot topics, he was cautioning people to take notice before it’s too late. He’s also tireless in his quest to set the record straight on Indian history, and not afraid to speak his mind, even if his message is controversial. And he’s fiercely proud of his distinguished service in the Marines.

“Why are you going to South America?” he asked. “The wisdom is right here. Just look at the track record of the Sioux, living in harmony with the earth. If you want to know the answers, just watch nature.”

In between work and fishing, we did manage to get in two fascinating interviews, the first of which will be published on Wednesday.

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Leaving him sawing apple wood wafers for the smoker, I headed north. Originally, I’d planned to head to southern Alberta but having slowed down my travel and spent more time than expected in South Dakota, I’m now heading directly for British Columbia and the Horizons Unlimited Travelers meeting beginning Thursday. That means I’ll have to backtrack before heading to the coast, but so be it.

A highlight of yesterday’s ride was the Big Horn Scenic Byway running west from Sheridan WY. There are lots of tight turns, steep grades and drop offs as the road carves up and down the mountains. All this under a beautiful big blue sky!

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High atop Medicine Mountain at 9642′, is this ancient Medicine Wheel, purported to be at least 10,000 years old. Thank you to Diane Mummery for making me aware of it! People have crossed paths here for millennia, leaving a fascinating legacy. Native American people, representing 81 tribes still utilize the ancient trail. If only the rocks could talk, what stories they must hold. I was content to walk the well worn path, wondering whose hands had laid the rocks in place, and respecting the mystery.

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Today I’ll continue north, and over the next few days, pass through Montana, Idaho and the corner of Washington before entering British Columbia. No question, it’s a circuitous route to South America.

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4 comments on “Black Hills to Medicine Mountain
  1. Mary McGee says:

    Liz how wonderful you were able to meet with Ed McGaa, for his remarkable insight to the earth and human nature. Continued wondrous riding!!

  2. Mona White says:

    Ah – the medicine wheel!! I used to work very nearby at Elk View Inn there at Burgess Junction – did you stay at one of the lodges there? The medicine wheel is truly amazing!

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Mona,

      It was quite an experience. Glad I made the trek up there. I stayed in Lovell in a place I’d rather not remember. 🙂 The Wheel is definitely worth making a detour for.

      Liz

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