Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Wind Also Blows (Where A River Runs Through It)

Has anyone ever wondered what it looks like toward the north in Casper WY. at ten minutes past six in the a.m.? Wonder no longer dear reader.

The view towards the west as the sky lightens is also as they say, enlightening.

Looking more to the southwest we can see similar coloration. I love taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets since they are so ephemeral in nature. One can marvel, as I often do, at the delicacy of the color palette and the brief joy of creation, since every day and in fact every sunset and sunrise is totally unique.

Without further ado, here is a picture of your intrepid traveling correspondents, ready to roll on and report back.

As the dawn begins to creep over the landscape in earnest, the interplay of light and shadow across the landscape of Wyoming is very appealing (from inside a vehicle at 35 F). Sadly one can never really capture the delicacy that the eye perceives, through the lens of a camera. Perhaps the drama would be more evident with the use of a longer lens?

You will remember from my last missive the Rock Castles a little farther south. It is not too hard to imagine an enemy force storming the battlements.

It was time to top off the tank and we stopped in Kaycee WY. The gas station had a number of mounts lining the walls. All were provided by local sportsmen, although all were not necessarily taken in the immediate area.

This Elk is a magnificent specimen with an imposing rack. The lady at the till opined "we sort of think of ourselves as a Mini-Cabela's". Cabela's is a well known sporting goods store that has trophies similarly displayed, although they usually feature the entire animal.

This cougar looks down upon people planning to use the washroom. It's not everyday you find a guard like this, in a place like that.

Your friend and mine the Trippin' Sista is looking a little nervous in this picture. If I had a Puma above me, I would be nervous too.

This is a Red Stag that was taken in New Zealand. He likewise sports a trophy sized rack. I hope he was good eating.

This is a particularly nasty looking kitty. Bobcat to be exact. The main difference between him and a Lynx is no tufted ears, and I believe Bobcat can grow larger, although the Eurasian Lynx can outweigh him by 20-30 lbs. 

There is another animal outside that was also not taken in this area. They call him Dino, and he looks like he is ready for St. Patrick's Day. You can probably guess which station we stopped at. That's right kids, it was Sinclair! We made sure we were full of top quality Dino-Juice and headed north.

Along the way we saw a lot of Pronghorn Antelope, but it is difficult to get a photograph of them since they move off rapidly when you stop.

This was really about the best we could do, with our equipment. They blend in so well with the prairie due to their coloration, that it is hard to get a good picture.

A blog post from last July introduced you to Lake DeSmet. Here is a picture of that reservoir as we passed this morning. I didn't feel it was advisable to revisit it's shores as the ice was still on the lake. Brrrrr!

We stopped at the Sheridan Rest Area. It is complete with a Visitor Center, Children's Playground and Picnic Shelters.

This signboard tells of the topography, situation and shelter around Sheridan. We had been downtown on a previous trip here so didn't go through this time.

There appears to be someone capturing video across the parking lot. Yeah, it's the Trippin' Sista. It is still not overly warm, you can tell by the way she's bundled up. The wind was blowing and it still hadn't topped 50 F.

Another sign tells of the wildlife which is native to this area. One of Wyoming's singular distinctions is that is has the lowest population of any state at just over 500,000 and the density is slightly less than six people per square mile.

There is a lovely visitor center. It includes a small museum and a information counter with a helpful young lady who passes out brochures.

One of Wyoming's largest exports is coal. The state has vast reserves of coal which is used for power generation. The state is the largest coal-producer in the nation, and has vast reserves as yet untapped. There is a bronze statue memorializing the Coal Miner.

From the deck of the Visitor Center one can look west toward the Bighorn Mountains and the town of Sheridan proper (hidden in the valley).

About 25 miles further on we cross into Montana. The scenery hasn't really changed, but we are heading towards more boreal and mountainous territory. There is also more ground water in evidence as we start to cross watercourses that are not dry. Many of the creeks and rivers we passed so far have been dry.

After fueling up in Billings we stopped at Graycliff  Rest Area on the way west. It is a new Rest Area, in the new style. Each bathroom is discrete, so there are three each men's and women's. The interior walls which are cinder block are also covered in a rubber-like anti graffiti coating. This is the first time I have seen this and I applaud the innovation.

Looking towards the west we can see the Crazy Mountains. We will pass them before the day is out. It is a constant amazement to me that a journey which would have taken three to four days in the Old West takes us about 1/2 an hour at today's speeds.

The timber is starting to get a little taller, and a little more robust as we head west. This lone specimen stands guard over the picnic area.

We reach our destination of Livingston Montana and do a slow cruise through town before checking into our hotel. We pass through Sacajawea Park on the bank of the Yellowstone River.

The wind in Livingston is quite fierce. It has abated a little from earlier this afternoon and currently measures 33 mph./gusting 45 mph. When I went to cover the scooters for the night, the wind did it's best to rip the cover from my hands. I managed to get it tied down sufficiently although it was still billowing.

One of the attendants told me he was actually blown off his porch, although he was a fairly slight young individual.

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There appears to be nothing more for me to say at this point so I will wish you a pleasant good evening.


Trobairitz said...

Those sunrise pictures are beautiful, nature's majesty at its finest.

April Baucom said...

Intrepid voyagers on the sea of prarie grass. Too bad you don't have a telephoto lens for those pronghorn. They're beautiful. Keep being safe!