Wheel in the Sky

Wheel in the Sky (new)

The Medicine Wheel is a native American astronomical structure at 10,000 ft. in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. It is at least 1,000 years old, probably more, and is a National Historic Landmark. It charts and predicts seasonal astronomical events such as solstice, equinox and rising stars, and is still in use by tribes of the region, including Crow, Shoshone, Arapaho, Kiowa and more. This is my interpretation of it.

As I researched the site it became clear to me that a connection between the wheel and the sky had to be made, and a nighttime starscape would be the only meaningful way to do it. Night a 10,000 ft. in the Bighorn mountains is cold and windy, even in summer, and the walk from the trailhead is 1-1/2 miles. The optimum window for the Milky Way being in the right spot was midnight or later. And then there was the problem of shooting into the sky while including an object flat on the ground and lighting it with minimal resources. Clearly I would be spending a cold, lonely night on the mountain and doing some creative problem solving. It worked out well enough, I suppose, but someday I may try to do better.

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