Friday, June 26, 2015

Grand Tetons Southeast to Nebraska

Well, well, well!  We had mentioned in the last blog that we had not seen any bison this year at Gros Ventre Campground in the Grand Tetons.  Not a one!  That was in the campground and all along the park road. What we did find were scenes like the one right above-----just about everywhere in the park.

So, as we were leaving the park, we approached the Moran Junction where you can go left up to Yellowstone or right for eastern Wyoming.  At Elks Ranch turnout, guess what?  The whole herd of bison that you see in the pictures above. Not only were they there and spread out all over the fields, but some were gracious enough to be very close to the highway, posing for the pictures above.

At Moran Junction we take Route 26/287 towards Dubois.  This road  goes over the Continental Divide ( 9,584 feet as you see above) and continues through the Shoshone National Forest.  Jan and I chose a great little campground called Falls Campground and Overlook just a little east of the divide.For $7.50 we had a very private site.  There was another loop with electric hookups for a few dollars more.  With that we had a great walk by the falls and also a view of what are called the Pinnacles.  

On the way into Dubois we see these tall , red and white cliffs.  Somewhat reminiscent of stops in Utah and the Painted Desert of Arizona. There were a number of nice homes such as the one above.

From Dubois , we follow Route 287 to Lander and then out Route 131 to Sinks Canyon State Park.  The park is along the Popo Agie River ( an Indian word pronounced po-poshia).  This active snow melt river flows down to the cave above. You can tell how large by looking for the people inside on the left.  At this point the entire river goes underground for a quarter mile and then pops up at the Rise.

It was such a nice spot by a rushing river, that we decided to stay two nights.  The second day we headed down to the visitor center.  Many state parks and national forest stations have displays of stuffed animals. Sometimes the taxidermy is old or of questionable quality as are some of the displays. But most we have seen are quite good. This one was impressive in spite of being rather small.

At the center, a ranger shows us a trail back to our campground, the North Slope Trail.  So off we go, Jan and I.  Straight up, any steeper and we would be on our hands and knees.  Oh well, good exercise.  And some wonderful wild flowers along the trail.  That third picture down is of some colorful lichen that was on many of the rocks.

The view from the top of the trail includes our campground and the national forest land beyond.
As you can see, our site was right on the river-----and the white water was loud!!!, but so nice!!
HONEST!!!! Jan let me go out dressed like this.  A very wobbly suspension bridge.

From The Sinks Canyon, we still follow Route 287 down to Rawlins and then east on Interstate 80.  East of Laramie, Wyoming we find a great site in Vedauwoo Recreation Area Campground in the Medicine Bow National Forest.  This strange accumulation of ancient boulders is in the middle of what is wide open cattle range. It is also at 8300 feet.  A number of groups and individual campers attest to the fact that it is a world class rock climbing destination.  Jan is giving her own demonstration of that. Go Jan!!!!

Cheyenne, Wyoming is about 50 plus miles beyond Laramie and close to the Nebraska border.  We cross over into Nebraska and travel a short ways to Oliver Reservoir State Recreation Area in Bushnell, Nebraska on Route 30, not far from Route 80. A quiet, very pleasant spot with no specific campsites, but some tables and fireplaces. A sign indicates the camping is free, though a donation is accepted in an iron ranger at the entrance.  There is a nice view of the lake, some weekend people in fishing and camping, and , if you enlarge the above picture, you will see one of many long trains passing on the other side of Route 30. Last night, at Vedauwoo, we watched some strong storm warnings on Colorado TV.  There was talk of golf ball sized hail and strong winds.  We are trying hard to miss all of that!

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