Mountain Crossing

We need to get to Lovell, WY on our approach to Yellowstone.  The plan is camp at Horseshoe Bend in Bighorn National Rec Area until after Memorial Day.  We had a choice of highways.  One route is advertised as safe, scenic, less grade-challenged. The other was cleared of ice and opened for traffic yesterday.  But it’s not that simple.  Safe is 70 miles longer.  Mountains of all stripes await us.  Without confidence we are nothing.  Let us take the short, hard route!

 

Wyoming Hwy 14 is a great sports car road.  Today’s conditions are perfect; if we can’t handle a tough road under the best of conditions, we better stay on the porch with the little dogs.  On the easy climb to the top we saw bluebonnets and distant snow.  After the summit we saw deep snowdrifts and a still frozen Lake Sibley.  Then came the long decline:  13 miles of 10% grade, or 3,600 feet of drop over 13 miles.  The Red Sled has a pretty good Jake brake and it saved us.  We smelled burned brake when it was over, although it seemed like I’d used them sparingly.

5547_BighornFlowers

snow 1

snowfield

wfall

We parked in Horseshoe Bend Campground in the best site on the premises.  This place is so beautiful.  There’s red and brown hills, distant purple mountains, some greenery and a lake.  It’s so quiet even a deaf guy’s ears work here.  The air is dry, neither hot nor cold, and our campground is cheap and nowhere near full.

color bands

backdoor view horseshoe bend

After dinner we tried our electronic amusements.  There is no cell or internet reception here, so we put on a DVD of season I of Northern Exposure.  The picture didn’t work but the sound was perfect.  If you are of a certain age you remember radio programs like Jack Benny or Amos & Andy.  Northern Exposure without video took me home again.

 

Then I heard thunder.  We are rainmakers.   To the delight of another parched county facing a 5% rainshot for the week, an early evening storm began building as we unhitched.  It delivered rain and hail overnight.  Before that happened, I picked up the camera to try to catch lightning.  I wanted a ground to cloud sizzle strike.

 

Even with a good camera and frequent strikes, catching lighting is harder than it looks.  Nothing was good enough to keep.  It was still a fine day.

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