Adios, Horseshoe Bend

This will be our tenth and final night in the Bighorn National Recreation Area. The weather faired off today with sunny skies, light breezes, and a high around 70. Tomorrow we will pull Kat’s Cradle to Cody, Wyoming, where we’ll camp at a Wal*Mart and restock our provisions. Early Monday we’ll move out for Newton Creek campground just outside Yellowstone. It’s a primitive Forest Service site alongside a noisy little rivulet that we hope has a few spawning salmon. Bears are in the forecast, too; for safety reasons tent camping is forbidden until July when the spawn is done. Newton honors the Old Folks Pass (America the Beautiful), and half price is twice as nice.

At any other point in my life ten days in a setting as idyllic as Horseshoe Bend would qualify as a vacation. We came to see it as more of a rest stop, a place to wait out the weather in Yellowstone and the Tetons (stop snowing, and have lows above the 20’s), and as a bargain as western campsites go. The full hookup rate here is $15 per night, but if you just want water and use of the dump station, it’s free. We paid the full rate for six nights and ran on batteries and tanks for four, averaging just $9 a day for rent and utilities. Is that a deal or what?

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Yesterday’s weather was as bad as today’s was good. The high may have reached 50, and there was always mist in the air driven by 25 to 35 mph winds. I kept reminding myself: this must feel like springtime in Ireland! Turns out we just thought it was tough here: they closed WY 14A for the last 20 miles of the route we took to get here because snow made it impassable.

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This was also a fine day for Canada goose viewing. We may have seen a thousand of them passing overhead in groups of ten to fifty, cheering each other on as they flapped, glided, and traded places in their avian peloton. The geese have decided the weather is good enough to move further north, without the benefit of AccuWeather. We have it, and we think it’s good enough to move west to Yellowstone, to camp alongside that running creek, to buy $50 of bear spray in Cody, and to get on with our travels.

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This is even more fun than it sounds.

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