Sunday, June 12, 2016

Our Week In The Big Horns

In Buffalo

Saturday, June 4

We toured the Jim Gatchell Museum, which tells the story of the town of Buffalo through the eyes and life of one of the founders. Had a marvelous lunch at Papa Bino’s and reprovisioned for our foray into the mountains. 

Our perfect and tranquil campsite went to hell when the local rednecks arrived in mass for the weekend. The one across from us was in a fifth wheel. He also had a Jet Ski on a trailer plus a cargo trailer. He came back today on a Harley. We guess he lives close by and takes all his stuff out and then takes it back.

 Six FEET in 4.5 hours!

Our Home In The Big Horns

The ascent up US16 from 4,500 to 8,000 was both quick and easy as we did not tow the Jeep. While there are several campgrounds in the area, there are more roads where you can park where ever you please. It pleased us to park here with this view out the Imax window. 

Close Up of the Big Horns From Our Parking Place

That’s new snow. The locals said they had a dry spring and it was only in the last month they got any rainfall. The pass west of us is 9,600 feet. There is ample snow in the fields above 9,000.

The pine forest remind me several alpine places, such as Grand Mesa, the Cascades, and Cedar Breaks. Deer graze in the meadow behind us.

The iPhone showed no service even with the booster on. However the mifi could got two bars with the booster. But, we could only use it the mornings. Why? Not a clue.

Monday, June 6

We drove Rubi west on US16 into Tensleep Canyon. We passed this way before and I wanted to see if it was like I recalled it. It was not. I had some other canyon with sheer rock walls in mind. We continued on to Paint Rock Canyon and found Utah in Wyoming.

Utah In Wyoming

I wanted to hike the canyon a little ways. But it was already 86 when we got there at 10:30. I could feel the heat reflecting up from the pink sand. I am not into torture. It was 59 when we returned to the pass. 5,000 feet makes a difference in temperature

I made a wrong turn and it took us a few miles out of the way. No big deal. But it did cause me to miss the back road up the mountain. While on the wrong road, named 43 1/2, six RV’s passed us going the opposite direction. Six RV’s on a back back road! And two of them were Cruise America. There too many people out here, nothing is remote now. We stopped at a small VC for local Indian rock art way the heck back up a dead end road. I looked at the Vistor’s Register and there were entries from all over.

Why Tensleep? Indians counted a journey by the number of nights it took. Tensleep is half between two Indian settlements now named Casper and Bridger.

We found this former Class A on the road. It caught fire last night.

A Former RV That Caught Fire Near The Top Of The Grade Of Ten Sleep Canyon

Western Horses Are Better Looking Than Their Southern Cousins

Tuesday, June 7

Moving day. We have seen all we wanted to see on US16, so we went back down to Buffalo, north to Sheridan and up US14. The ascent on this road is quite scenic. We parked at Sibley Lake, about 8,800 feet. It looks good for paddling, but signs warn us we need an inspection decal to launch. A guy inspected us last week, but did not give us a decal. And so it goes.

This side of the Big Horns is not so impressive. There is only one necklace of peaks and we were much closer to them on the south side.

Lunch was rather exciting. I shook up the 57 and twisted the top open. 57 went on me, shorts, shirt, the dashboard, etc. Dorothy did not take a clue from me, when she opened the catsup, but since it was pointed down, she did not get a full bath in it. First time atmospheric pressure has zapped us.

No cell coverage here. May go into detox.

Wednesday, June 8

We went west on the infamous US14A. We stopped short of the decent at the Bald Mountain campground. It’s not officially open yet, so we parked for free. The elevation is getting to Dorothy. She spent most of the day resting.

We drove down the mountain in the Jeep. The road surface was fine, the lanes were wide and the curves were not bad. However, it’s 10% for 10 long miles. Not a road for a motor home unless you want to have the rotors replaced. I had the Jeep in first gear, that kept us to 25mph, a little slow, but fine for looking. To descend in the RV, it would mean using first gear which would spin the engine up 5,000rpm for the full ten miles. We will use the slightly less steep US14 to get down. It’s only a 7% grade.

In the afternoon, I went out seeking to bag a water fall. First I went to Porcupine Falls and saw the trail went about straight down. No thanks. There was a gentleman at the trailhead on an ATV. Turned out he owned a nearby lodge and was out with his grandson. He told me that there was a overlook for Bucking Mule Falls only a mile from the trailhead. This falls has a 570 foot straight drop. The picture at the trailhead was inspiring. I wanted it. The sign at the trailhead said two miles. OK, he said the trail was more or less level so I will try it. I went 50 minutes down the trail just over the creek and was starting up the other side when I realized I was bushed. I was already going to get back later than I told Dorothy I would. It was a great hike though a beautiful forest. I enjoyed it. Tho I am disappointed I could not get to the waterfalls.

Bucking Mule Falls - Not My Picture

Dorothy was feeling better when I got back. That was a good thing.

Thursday, June 9

Dear Readers, I am sure there are damn few of you that have read this far. And I don’t blame you. The blog is primarily for us to read when we can no longer travel. Hoping that does not happen, but reality often trumps hopes.

We got away early and drove back east to an overlook which has a view of the basin below. Three bars make up to the overlook. We had breakfast, showered, and surfed for two hours. 

Sadly the haze over the basin continued today and was supplemented by rain in the mountains to the west. So no pictures. But what a view it would be on a clear day.

We needed to get to a lower elevation so Dorothy can breath. If elevation can pop the tops off plastic oil bottles, it can surely affect the body.

We went south on US16 to Shell Canyon which is almost two thousand feet lower at around 7,600. We got the only non-reservable site and plan to stay the weekend. The heat wave is supposed to pass Sunday. We don’t want to deal with heat. Her systolic dropped 15 points with the decrease in elevation and continued to drop another 15 in the afternoon. 

All the sites here are close to a river that is roaring with snow melt. We can take our chairs down the river’s edge and sit in the shade.

We are right on the border of the Cloud Peak Wilderness. We will not hike any of the long trails, but we will drive the perimeter road looking for a special photo op.

No cell signal here, otherwise it would be prefect for us.

In the afternoon we took Rubi on what turned out to be  some high clearance 4WD drive roads. Our destination was Woodchuck Pass where we hoped to get good view of the southern Big Horns. We forded two streams, the second was about the limit of Rubi. When we got to a third stream, Willits,  it was roaring. I waded in till I was knee deep and could see it was deeper ahead. So like yesterday we did not get to our destination. Still, except for the boulder fields on the road it was a fun trip in the mountains.

We got back just in time for a wind storm and rain. I would love to see how the kids from Lehigh U are doing making camp in the group area. Gee, it must be fun. They were all smiles when they went past.

The brief storm cancelled our plans to slurp a bottle of fine Deming, NM wine by the river. It dropped the temp 25 degrees to 50.

In the news we heard about the idiot who went off trail at Yellowstone and was dissolved in the acidic spring. The last time we were at Yellowstone, we were on a ranger lead walk at the same springs. Her hat blew off and landed about 30 yards from the boardwalk. She was after her hat in a flash. She explained she could not afford a $100 replacement.

Friday, June 10

We tried another FS road, but only got about a mile before we encountered a locked gate. The Forest is just not open yet. This is the third day we have not gotten to our destination. 

We headed down US 14 to Shell Canyon. The Shell River runs behind our campsite and has carved a huge canyon on it’s way to the basin. One of the attractions is Shell Falls, which the FS has spent big bucks making walkways to the falls and along the gorge. We sat at the falls for a time. Most came and went in less than a minute. 

 Shell Creek Falls. The Same Water That Flowed Past Our Camp Site

We continued downhill to the basin into 95 degree heat and drove five miles down Red Gulch road. It looks a lot like Utah with the iron oxide stained rocks.

Just because we were there, we stopped at what the BLM calls one of it’s gems - dinosaur foot prints. They say there are over 1,100 of them in an area about the size of ballroom. I took a picture. One may be a dinosaur footprint.

 One Of These May Be A Dinosaur Foot Print

More Utah Color In Wyoming

Reminds Me Of Mexican Hat, Utah

Saturday, June 11

We tried another FS looking for scenery. Did not find much of note. We were back near 9,000 and Dorothy was feeling the pain. I decided rather than retrace out steps at altitude, we would descend the mountain, eat in Sheridan and then come back up on the paved road. It was the long way around for sure.
One of the dozens of streams in the Big Horns. Several have falls, but you need to be a moose to get to them this time of year due to run off

Dorothy thought this looked like fingers. There several Japanese looking rock gardens

Yeah we saw some moose

Sunday, June 12

We moved west to Cody to do some tourist things and some mundane things like laundry, grocery shopping and picking up our mail


  1. Sounds like you two are covering quite a bit of ground! All the pictures look great....except for that well done class A MH. At least it wasn't yours! I hope the weather and camp neighbors are favorable for the remainder of your trip. Safe, happy travels!

  2. We love the Big Horns and Wyoming but at the time we were on a schedule and didn't have time to explore. Hoping to go back someday.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.