Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wyoming - Part I

We all spent a couple of days at Paul's parents' house, then Paul and I disappeared for a couple of days on our own. We returned this afternoon for a couple more days here all together before we head back east. Or, rather, to the Midwest.

Wyoming is a state that produces coal, oil, and natural gas. But on our little side trip Paul and I saw large wind farms, a few hydroelectric dams, and some solar panels. It turns out that geothermal is an possibility here, too.

We stayed in Saratoga and drove through the Medicine Bow National Forest, pausing to hike a couple trails. At the end of the Lakes trail I added a little bit of the trek to Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range but Paul made it much farther - probably to the summit itself.

It wasn't the altitude (my lungs, my legs) that did me in. It was more a combination of: the lack of visible path, loose rock to climb over, smooth snow face to cross, knowledge that every foot I climbed up I'd have to climb back down, and a complete lack of conviction for why I should put myself through all that in the first place. Besides, I was equipped for an "easy hike" with running shoes, khaki shorts, and a t-shirt. No water, no climbing gear, no experience.

Where I stood on top of a boulder over-looking a series of crystal clear lakes stair-stepping down in altitude below me, the view was incredible. I was content.

Soaking my feet in the hot springs later that night soothed both my physical reminders of the hike and my emotional distress over a day of sliding around hairpin turns up and down mountains on a single track dirt road. As the passenger.

Wyoming Highway 130, a paved "Scenic Byway," crosses Medicine Bow National Forest but is only open from late spring or early summer until October. Sometimes the road opens for the season in JULY. We saw lots of snow along the road in addition to at higher reaches on our hike but were quite comfortable in our summer attire. All road markers, signs, and reflectors were topped by tall sticks to mark the way for snow plows.

On our way back through the forest we decided to take a less well-traveled dirt road. We made it safely, and that's about enough said about the trip. More later.

Note: I'm in the first photo and took the second. (Look for my blue shirt.) Paul took the first photo about halfway back to the car park along the Lakes trail. I took the second photo after scrambling back down from Medicine Bow Summit, in the pass between Medicine Bow and SugarLoaf peaks.


RobMonroe said...

Wow! Jut, wow! Very cool, for both of you!

Sarahlynn said...

We had a blast, and it was definitely not a trek we could have made with the kids!