[Cdt-l] Wandering through Wyoming
Jim and/or Ginny Owen
spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Sat May 24 00:12:51 CDT 2008
After our last update things got kinda interesting. We started by spending some time hiking and backpacking in
the San Rafael River basin – it’s a beautiful area and there are a number of pictograph and petroglyph sites in there.
They’ve just been hangin’ out there in the San Rafael canyon below the Wedge for the last 8 or 9 hundred years.
Hmm – maybe you’d like to see one of them? OK – try this: http://spiriteaglehome.com/SanRafael_VirginSpring.jpg
Well, whatever - we thought it was worth three days of hiking – along with something like 40 stream crossings.
We also returned to Nine-Mile Canyon. In fact, we spent a couple days in there. Last year we had a lot of fun
driving the road looking for and finding the rock art – this year we got serious about it. There’s a book that details
a lot of the rock art – about 85different sites. And that doesn’t count the ones we found that weren’t in the book.
It’s an amazing area.
There were also other sites like the Ferron Box, the Lower Price River, Cedar Mountain, Buckhorn Wash and
another full day at Fremont Indian State Park finding rock art that we didn’t find the last time we were there.
At that point, a visit to a podiatrist to get a shot for the Morton’s Neuroma was in order. The jury is still out on the
results, partly because we haven’t been doing much hiking since the shot – for the last couple days, it’s been too
rainy/snowy to do anything. Yeah, I said snow. How’s that for a Memorial Day surprise? Can you imagine the
desert around South Pass covered in white? We can. The Winds were beautiful, when we could see them through
the ground-level clouds. It may be a while before they’re hikeable.
We also stopped for a visit to Timpanagos Cave NM near Salt Lake City. It was a really nice side trip – the cave is
great, just watch out for that 1.5 mile, 1000 ft climb to get to the entrance (especially when it’s snowing!) But the
cave has a wide variety of really beautiful “decorations.” It’s worth a visit.
That sorta ended our run in Utah for this year. After the cave, we moved north-east into Wyoming, intending to visit
the White Mountain petroglyph site – but with the snow depth and a 16-mile high-clearance/4WD back road
approach to the site, we’ll have to get back to that one another time.
So now we’re in Lander, WY – a great CDT trail town, trying to figure out where to head next. Probably to a couple
more of the Wyoming rock art sites, then into Montana/Idaho – and ultimately north to Alaska for at least a month or
more. Even if the shot takes care of the Morton’s neuroma, there’s some question about how far we can trust the foot
for a while, so long distance hiking will be questionable this summer. And there’s still some question about how effective
the shot will be. We won’t know that for at least a week.
We’re looking forward to Alaska, even though that wasn’t our original plan for this summer. The high gas prices were
the main deterrent to driving to Alaska this year, but they aren’t likely to be much lower next year and we really did
intend to return in the near future. We were there in 2004 and really enjoyed our visit. We did several of the main
tourist stops, as well as a week-long fly-in at Wrangell-St. Elias NP, but three weeks wasn’t nearly long enough.
The incredible scenery and wildlife are a really strong attraction, and we will see a lot of both even if we can’t do
long hikes. If the foot heals, we’ll head into the backcountry for a bit. If not, short hikes and lots of camping in out
of the way places. As usual, we plan to play it by ear and see what comes out in the end. We never know, but it
usually works out well for us.
Jim & Ginny
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