Part 12: Cody, WY to Curtis Gulch, WY


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The Trip

We spent several days with Bob and Sandy at their ranch on South Fork of the Shoshone River south of Cody, WY.    From Cody we headed east into the Big Horn Mountains and then south along the spine of the range then east to the area south of Douglas, WY.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

There was lots of smoke from nearby fires.  Above is one of the points in the Absaroka Range.

North of the ranch is Castle Rock, a volcanic plug.  Note the haze and the far cliffs of the Absaroka Range.

The 12,000 foot escarpments of Carter Mountain were also hazy.

After the first night at the ranch, our truck-buddies Joe and Stacey from Ottawa joined us at the ranch.  They were out in the Yellowstone area and knew our location from our SPOT transmitter.

Their rig, "Heffalump", has been around the world.  Joe and Stacey "own" the right column of events.

The view from the ranch's driveway of the South Fork of the Shoshone River.

The view of the South Fork and Absaroka Range is awe-inspiring.

During our exit from Cody we stopped to visit Bob's son in town and came upon this bob-tailed 5-ton truck used as advertising by the local gun museum.

From the Cody area we headed southeast through Ten Sleep.  The formation above is visible from the highway to the east of Ten Sleep.

Closer to the Big Horn Range, colored bands were visible in the stratigraphic column.

We traveled up Ten Sleep Creek Canyon following huge vertical canyon walls.  Our objective for the night was Lake View campground at the crest of the Big Horns.  We were very lucky to have found an open space given the lateness of the day.

Lake View Campground was one of the cleanest we had ever seen.  The camp host took his job seriously and it showed.  We had a quiet night watching videos.  Next morning, we heard from the host that some moose had been through camp earlier in the morning.  Not thinking much about it, we headed down to the lake to get a few photos and the moose were still there.  Apparently, they checked out the campground for treats and then headed to the water to feed.

Some kayakers were loading up and spooked the moose who ran along the bank.

The moose ran about 20 yards and then turned to see what was up.  Both moose and the kayakers are visible in the photo above.

We headed over the crest of the Big Horn Range then turned south on a county road.  Along the road we could see side streams that had meandering oxbows that must provide good fishing for trout.

At about 8500 feet altitude we spotted big herds of sheep grazing on the sagebrush and grass in the meadows.

This red-tailed hawk watched Thor drive by and continued to watch as I stopped and backed up to get this photo.  The droppings on the pipe indicate this is HIS perch and he was not intimidated by strangers.

The ridges had nice rolling hills with grass.  While brown now, I am sure it was quite a (muddy) sight in the spring.

The trail passed through a draw that carried Buffalo Creek.

We surprised a couple of antelopes grazing by the side of the road.  As they bolted, I grabbed the camera and shot without aiming, more of a "point and pray" thing.  With some rotation and cropping I got a clear view of their white "pillow butts" sprinting away from Thor.

We found a campground that was close to the trail and while there was another rig there, it was a free camp.

From the rocks overlooking Thor I could see a vehicle hauling a quad on a trailer as well as the white-rock cliffs in the distance.  Thunderheads were brewing in the distance and we sat outside listening to the thunder rumble.

Heavy commuter traffic, Wyoming style.  Some cowboys were doing a roundup and most of the herd was on the roadway.  We literally had to nudge them out of the way.

Further south we came to the "redwall" which is a set of red sandstone cliffs above the grassy plains.

It was still hazy from the fires but we did get a nice view of the redwall canyon cliffs.

The rolling grasslands in the canyon bottom went on for miles without a tree anywhere to be seen.  We finally came upon one tree, and it was about 1/2 dead.  This must have unfavorable conditions for trees.

There were outcroppings that exposed the red sandstone below.

Along the cliff line, softer ground underneath was worn away causing the capstone to collapse leaving huge slabs on the hillside.

We passed outcroppings of Bentonite.  Indeed, further down canyon we came upon a Bentonite mine.

This monument was spotted in Casper, WY.

From Casper, we traveled south/east on I-25 to Douglas, WY and then turned south into the mountains.  From the trail we could see interesting rock outcroppings that have weathered into a "standing rocks" area.

We located a Forest Service camp site on our route, albeit a few miles down a side canyon.  As we traversed the canyon, the outcroppings became bigger.

A view of more outcroppings from our campsite.  We found the entire place deserted, so we made best use of the situation.

We thank Bob and Sandy for their hospitality and sharing their home.  The trip from Cody to the Big Horns was very scenic and one that we'll surely repeat.  If in the area, visiting the Big Horns is a must.

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