We spent the night in a mountain meadow at the
base of Bridger Peak. It was cold and somewhat
windy, but otherwise it was a good camp. Next
morning, we continued
north on the dirt county road toward Rawlins, WY for a resupply and then north again
to Pathfinder Reservoir.
The photos below are what we saw.
11,000+ foot Bridger
visible in the distance from our camp.
continued north on the dirt track and eventually left the
forested highlands for the plains below.
Escarpments resulting from erosion were
visible on the horizon. The vehicle at the side of the
road is some kind of testing lab
for the road construction that has been happening. Note
the nice crushed rock
erosion prevention channels at the side of the
continued north to Rawlins, WY. I am sorry, but there is no
way to put a happy face on Rawlins. It is a God-forsaken,
wind-swept wide spot in the road that would not be there
except for the Union Pacific Railroad. We
did a re-supply and then headed north toward
Pathfinder Reservoir and got a lesson in
map-data-quality. Our map (a Delorme
Atlas, which is not our preferred
vendor) showed a county road that
went from the main highway to
the reservoir. The
road started out bad and
deteriorated rapidly eventually degrading to a
trench in the sand
dunes that comprise the
terrain. We eventually were forced to go
because the deep
unconsolidated sand was
causing us to bog
down. The path followed some oil
pipelines and eventually
to two ruts. But,
oddly the country road signs
were still there.
The Ferris Mountains showed evidence of
uplifting and exposed some large layers of light-colored
we crossed through the backcountry areas, we encountered many herds of western
pronghorn antelope, which I refer to as "pillowbutts".
The fluffy white fur on their rumps
distinguish the breed and make them visible
from long distances. This herd watched as
Thor approached then bolted
in unison when it became
too scary for them.
trail passed through very sandy terrain that reminded me of Mexico,
but at 7,000 feet altitude. There were significant sand dunes
alongside our path.
Pathfinder reservoir was a bit more than we expected. Succinctly
put, it beat the shit out of us and both of
us were very ready to
make it to camp. Mid-way into the
hammering I jokingly said to
Kathleen "...the only thing that
would make this better is the
reservoir to be
dry.". Oops, wrong thing
to say. When we made it to our
destination, and guess
what? The reservoir was
not actually dry, but
rather "at a very
low level" where
the water was several
the end of the
it was past
1800 and we
found a place
on a point
Above is a
Looking to the east it is easy to see
where the lake had
was still water
in the reservoir, but it was miles distant and to reach it would
have required crossing treacherous mud flats. So,
our camp on the ridge with the 360 degree view was a
the perfect spot to park that was flat, she spotted this
nest of a ground bird. There were three eggs
We did not touch them and gave the nest wide berth.
The clouds were coming in and the wind was
howling. It has been windy for the past week.
Every day. All day. All night. But, now
the wind has increased in velocity to perhaps 40
mph. Later in the evening, Thor's camper was rocking so hard that
we strongly considered repositioning the truck so
was into the wind to prevent a roll-over. We
to take no action and we did not roll.
fading sun provided interesting illumination of the
exposed bottom of the reservoir.
morning it was still blowing
as hard or harder than the night before. As we broke camp, I
got a nice view of the antelopes grazing on
the lake bed below.
distant water was clearly visible in the morning
light. We continued north and then northwest to
another county road that crossed the Rattlesnake Hills.
You cannot make this stuff up. In an
area called the
Rattlesnake Hills we spotted
no less than 4 rattlesnakes from the dirt road. This one was
in the center, so I stopped and got the photo
above. This snake was pissed and was
hissing like there was no tomorrow.
the road crested near Bald Mountain, we got a commanding view of Wind
River Range to the west. The light-colored area
in the photo above are sand dunes.
past the crest, we passed a quarry that was used to
produce the crushed stone for the county road.
our return to the blacktop,
we spotted this pillowbutt next to the road.
Look at the veins standing out on his
rear legs! These 'lopes can really run.
We turned to the northwest and took the highway past
into the Wind River Canyon. The river cut a deep gorge
through the mountain.
We decided that we would spend the night in Thermolopis,
State Park is at the springs at Thermopolis so we
decided to give it the once-over. The flow
stone on the banks of the river are from the
depositions of the hot springs.
Note the remnants of
the anticline in the
bridge was built in 1916 to allow crossing the Wind River. It has been
rebuilt several times since then but is
still available to foot traffic.
painted rocks advertise the hot springs.
flow stone has left large deposits around the hot springs.
has built a
"state bath house" around the spring. The baths were free and the
place was nice
and clean. And, the water was hot, about 104 degrees.
winds were blowing clouds over our position. The excess
flow from the hot spring was diverted to some ponds that
nourished a large grove of trees. The excess flow continued
over the flats
of the deposition
was focused as she prepares to take a photo with my Fuji X10 camera.
deposits went right into the Wind River.
the flow stone
is a water
slide that provides
entertainment for the children.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2013,
all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.