It’s called Maiden Rock and the people of the “Valley of the Flowers” know it well. They were the first there, where Montana Highway 293 now passes by, “a few hundred yards north and east of the U.S. Fish Hatchery Site.”
The Crow came to the valley to “gather the red raspberries, kinnikinnick and sour grapes for the fever that came with staying too long in one lodge.”
It was a good year, one which saw berries “so large the children put them, like caps, on their fingers.”
There were problems, however, and that was an approaching band of hostile Indians, one intent upon taking the valley for their own.
The chief of the Crow was wise but “the weight of the years sat upon him.” He could only call upon a leading brave of the tribe, Black Eagle.
Black Eagle was honored to take the mantle of leadership on this problem, though his wife Evening Star was not. She’d heard the hoot owl in a tree outside their lodge for three days now, which “foretold death for her beloved brave.”
Black Eagle laughed this off, telling her it was the chief the owl was hooting about. He went off, looking back on the “least little spot on the cliff where Evening Star stood watching.”
She’d climbed up there to see him off, watch until he faded from view. She stayed there for two days before coming down to “put all her things in order.”
Eventually the Crow were driven away, though Evening Star stayed. She’d promised Black Eagle that she’d wait and “none could change her mind.”
Many yeas later the Crow returned to the valley. There, “just below the high cliff where they had left the sorrowing Evening Star, they found a stone maiden.”
Legend has it that she:
“was going down to meet the faithful few who loved their young chief more than their lives and were bringing him home to bury him near the graves of his fathers. But, when only a little way down the mountain, she was turned to stone by the grief that was in her heart.”
“And she stands forever there at the canyon entrance while the evening star lingers long and lovingly over the maiden who bore its name."
Sometimes called “the pinnacle,” Maiden Rock stood at the entrance to Bridger Pass for two years after Philips wrote those words, until 1967 when it was blasted away that year by road crews.
Modernity had come. The maiden would stand no more.