More Wyoming Ramblings

kcowyo

ExPo Original


After the Leadville adventure, I was craving more peaks above timberline. It has been a few years since I was a Colorado resident, but Colorado is like that cool friend from high school or college that you don't get to see very often anymore but when you finally do get to see them, it's like you never skipped a beat. The Colorado blue skies and dramatic peaks are unmatched in the lower 48 and as was recently told to me, the most scenic spots in CO are often not on the most technical trails.

So I took advantage of the long 4th of July weekend to explore an area near the western Wyoming and Eastern Idaho border. I had 3 1/2 days to check out the Greys River area, which runs south to north, from Kemmerer, WY to Alpine, WY through the Bridger-Teton Nat'l Forest. I have been wanting to visit the area for awhile now but had to wait for the snow to melt.

I attended a 4th of July BBQ on the 2nd at a friends cabin near Kemmerer and then made my way north to Greys River. After stopping to give some lost AZ residents directions, I found camp for the evening. After a couple of hours in camp, solo, I had my fire going and a little dinner cooking when I started getting an uneasy feeling. Within seconds I heard something moving around in the trees and it didn't sound small. With my headlamp on, I scour the trees as much as possible when I clearly caught an eye reflecting the light. It wasn't close to the ground like a rabbit or squirrel either.

Camping in big game country is often risky and travelling alone adds to that. I adhere closely to the rules of camping in bear country and have several deterants and measures for self defense if necessary. Reminding myself that I'm a guest out here, I opt for dinner in the camper after dousing the fire. It rained a little that evening and whatever was out there, watching me through the trees, if it left prints, they were washed away by the rain. I never found a thing.
 

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kcowyo

ExPo Original



I spent Monday the 2nd, heading north, following the Greys River. This area is due south of Yellowstone and the Tetons, but the beauty of the area does not stop at the Teton County line. The flowers were in full bloom and although I don't practice macro or flora type photography, I couldn't help but take several pics of the yellows, reds, blues, purples, pinks and other colors of flowers that emerged from the landscape. They were everywhere!

For a holiday weekend, the traffic was very low and primitive campsites were available at the river's edge for several miles. I found myself driving between the Salt River Range and the Wyoming Range, with numerous peaks above 11K feet. While the Tetons and the Wind River Mountains get most of the notoriety, the Salt River Mtns are more than worthy of the trip. Several spur trails leave the main road and one can only imagine the hidden treasures these various trails lead to.

After stopping and photographing as many mountain peaks and flowers as I can stand (lots of bees when you're shooting flowers!) I head into the small town of Alpine for lunch and to determine my return route home. Over a basket of fish and fries I consult the Gazetteer and find a way that will allow me to drive about half way across Wyoming, back home to Lander, all on a 4wd trail.

With a route in mind, I return to the Greys River, heading south to McDougal Rd, which will lead me east towards Lander. This trail was nearly deserted due to the late run off and poor fishing. After climbing to nearly 10K ft in elevation I found an amazing campsite overlooking a marshy creek area on one side and Lander Mounatin on the other. I spent the last hour of daylight watching the water below for animals but only spotted a couple of does. The sunset was outstanding and I tried to capture it on film but I have to believe even a professional photographer would have been overwhelmed by the scope and colors that night. Just amazing!
 

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kcowyo

ExPo Original



The morning of July 4th started slowly in camp. I futzed around downloading pics and tried to decide if it was worth the clean up to make myself a fancy holiday morning breakfast of California Cracklin' - a mix of scrambled eggs, Cheez-Its and Bacon crumbles. I opted for the big breakfast and following KP, I continued east and south among the mountain tops and flowers.

The mountains started to fade into the rearview and I was soon rolling in the brown prarie of SW Wyoming, to the town of Big Piney. I crossed the highway back into the dirt and turned slightly north towards the smaller town of Boulder. More brown rolling hills and praries till I reached Boulder, with the Wind River Mountains approaching on the horizon. All I had to do was make it to the other side of the Wind Rivers and I would be home.

From Boulder I made my way out to the Big Sandy Rec Area, then to South Pass. This is a kind of personal playground for me as there are miles of trails near Big Sandy. Lots of sandy tracks for your Parnelli Jones fantasies and some mild technical trails that lead into the Wind River Mountains. I make good time through here along a familiar trail when I see two tire tracks leaving the road on a dangerous curve. I stopped to look and there is a late model GMC truck about 40 yards down the hill and it is decimated. There is no one in the vehicle and so I snap a few shots and move on.

The last part of Big Sandy leads to South Pass and the highway so I jump on the pavement for about 6 miles and pick up the northern end of a loop trail, through the Wind Rivers, that will lead me into Lander, only about 6 miles from the house. It's much more crowded up here than on Greys River as many of the Lander locals have come up here to get out of town and the heat. I don't dally up here as I spend a lot of time on this trail anyway. Made it home by 5PM and in plenty of time for the fireworks. I had driven 241 miles since leaving camp and only 14 miles had been on the pavement, not too shabby.

I must say I truly enjoyed celebrating my freedom on Independence Day! - :beer:
 

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HenryJ

Expedition Leader
You may have crossed my long washed away prints on the trail. I have relatives south of Big Piney, and have traveled in the Bridger National Forest more than once.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey!
 

BajaTaco

Swashbuckler
Excellent report KC! Glad you had such a worthwhile trip home. That is too cool.

Ursidae69 said:
Great photos in this thread amigo. :clapsmile
I'll second that for sure. Fantastic pics!
 

flywgn

Explorer
Great report KC. Thanks for alerting me to the thread. I get to stick my head out from behind boxes now and then for refreshment--mental as well as physical.

It sounds and looks (great photos) like you had a fabulous trip. Having the combination of great weather, great country, and great wildflowers is hard to beat.

I gather that the spring run-offs blew out most of the fly-fishing. That's too bad as the Greys has a good population of Snake River cutthroats and they're feisty little devils.

It's more than interesting that you mention the 'voyeur' you had at your campsite on the Greys. Diana and I have seen more than our share of black bears and brown bears while roaming around this country, but without a doubt the largest black bear we've ever seen was on the Greys. We know that sometimes brown bears can have dark enough coats to be confused with blacks, but this was definitely a black.

I can imagine the adrenalin rush knowing you're being monitored. Yikes!

Thanks again for the report.
 

kcowyo

ExPo Original
I was hoping you would enjoy this Allen, since you're one of the few I know here that has made that trip. Figured it would make a nice break from deciding where to put that lamp and end table! ;)

As Scott so eloquently stated, it was "thrill" being monitored. I have no idea what it was, it could have been a noisy doe for all I know. I just knew that I had no desire to share my dinner or to be someone else's dinner! I felt much more secure in the camper which makes no sense because a hungry bear could tear through the camper quicker than me at a Chinese buffet! If I had been in a tent, I would have just slept in the truck.

Thanks guys for the comps on the pics! That area made nice photos easy. I'll attach a couple others from that campsite that shows how dense the trees were right beside me and some more signs and flowers too -
 

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maxama10

Welcome to Nevadafornia
I've had this thread in mind for a while now as I got ready to move back to Rock Springs for the summer. I lived in Kemmerer for 3 years when I was younger and have many fond memories of traveling north into Bridger and the surrounding area. I have all this weekend off and although I figured there would be lots of snow up there still I thought they might have plowed the roads. Got north from Lake Viva Naughton and right as I passed the Bridger Nat'l Forest boundary I found a 3 ft of snow on the road as far back as I could see as well as a truck with a sled deck. Instead I played around that area for a while and drove home.












Not as nice as yours but if I can get up there farther they will be :)
 
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