Thursday, October 29, 2009

More to Wyoming than I knew

More Moose pictures....Anybody like nursing babies?

'nuf said

As much as I sing praises for Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, I have always had a dim view of the rest of Wyoming. To me it is sagebrush and Halliburton (why do you think “Dick” C. calls this home?), and I detest driving across it. I have seen a few highlights outside the Hole, namely Devil’s Tower and hiking in the Wind River Range, but for the most part I have nothing nice to say. And really, if you stick to I-80, any road leading to Casper, and I-90, you will probably agree it is a miserable place.

Recently we had the opportunity to visit good friends who made the great escape from the fast-paced-long-commutes-keeping-up-with-the-Jones’s life of Jackson Hole, to a more normal family-friendly life in Sheridan. Now, the thing about Sheridan is that you can’t get there from here. Look at the map, and you see there are several mountain ranges, winding roads that don’t point in the right direction, and 12 months of snow. Lots of snow (not actually on the map, unless you dropped it in the snow). In fact, from November to May, most roads through Yellowstone are closed. It’s times like these that you keep your fingers crossed that Togwotee pass is open. If it’s not, it’s time to crack open another Pabst at Phil’s Tavern, call into work sick, throw another log on the fire and let the brown couch suck you in for the evening, ‘cause you’re not going anywhere. At least, not to Sheridan.

Luckily for us, Yellowstone was still open, and we had a break in the snow with a few days of weather above 40 degrees. It was downright balmy over in Sheridan! Three of us took off like a herd of turtles and decided to take the scenic route through Yellowstone. We exited the east side by Fishing Bridge, went over the Absaroka Mountains, stopped for a beer with the local color in Cody, and crossed the sagebrush of Wyoming through Powell and finally over the Bighorn Mountains on the Medicine Wheel Passage/Bighorn Mountain Scenic Byway to Sheridan. And boy was it scenic! I had no idea. None at all. Wyoming sure has some beautiful rocks! You can imagine the dinosaurs sitting in those rocks waiting to be found. Here’s some photos from more of that good ol’ scenic Wyo’. These photos don’t do the drive justice. There is much more to see.

Yellowstone Lake

Just Scratchin' my beard

On the way home we decided to check out the medicine wheel of the Bighorns. According to the google, it’s an old Indian ceremonial site that has some celestial alignments among the stones. In our tennis shoes, we took our hangovers for a three mile hike through the snow… and guess what? We couldn’t see the wheel because it too was buried in snow. Duh! But the views were great anyway.

The trail

Medicine Wheel National Monument

Edge of the world, Medcine Wheel, Wyo...

We were glad we made the trek even though it delayed our voyage. After all, you really only live once right? While the actual sight of the stones was lost beneath the snow, we could understand why it could be a significant location due to it’s beauty, remoteness, and solitude. It was a moment of reflection for both of us, despite our triflin’ atheistic ways.

There is much more to Wyoming than meets the eye. We feel lucky to have spent three months in NZ because it taught us to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, in our own backyard. Before NZ we would have driven right past the medicine wheel in our hurry to get to the next destination. Now we realize there are many beautiful things worth stopping to see right here in our own neck of the woods. And despite slowing down those few hours, we were still home before bedtime, and happier for it.

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love your postings! thanks for the good reading!
    -tracy erbeck


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