Day 205 Monday 3rd November Cody WY pg 116 B7
We left Sheridan this morning and headed to the Bighorn National Forest region in northern Wyoming along Rte 14A. Variety is the spice of life and we certainly had lots of variety today.
There is no gradual build up of these mountains, it’s just straight up and then straight down the other side. Our ascent up the side of the mountain was a slow climb, the RV knew it had it work cut out to get us to the top.
Looking back to the east we could see the undulating hills and the valley floor over which we’d travelled the previous day. As we reached the summit and made our way across the mountain top we were greeted by a new seasons snow fall. According to a local this snow actually fell back in September/October, with just light falls in-between, but to us it could have just fallen as it looked so pretty. Morning tea was a delight being up at 9,430’ with snow surrounding us, bright sunshine and blue skies just to complete the perfect picture.
Descending the Bighorn Mountain range the road was even more challenging, with a 10% grade going downhill – I’m sure glad Steve was driving. The road authority was quite concerned that all drivers were aware of the steepness of the grade as they provided areas to check your brakes, and turnouts which would allow you to cool your brakes if required. Over the 10 mile descent, the road dropped 3,600’. Needless to say we didn’t break any speed records in our descent and after 20-30 mins we were back on the valley floor.
Continuing westward we stopped at the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Centre in the township of Lovell, where a young guy told us about the Mustang Horses, whose origins can be traced back to the Spanish Conquistadores when they explored the new world. The wild Mustang horse stand approx 14 hands tall, and this Colonial Spanish American horse is bred for endurance, not speed.
Leaving the Centre, we headed along Rte 37 to the western plateau of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation area. This area takes in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range where we are told some 100 Mustang horses can roam free. We only saw two, a brown and black one while driving along the road today. In this Canyon we actually crossed over the border into Montana and stopped at an overlook at Devil Canyon, where you can see down 1000’ or more to the water filled canyon below.
This forty mile return trip is another gem that we have stumbled across today. We were lucky enough to also see a group of long horned mountain sheep grazing in one of the empty camping areas. They didn’t seem to be too concerned with our presence as we were able to drive rather close to them and take a few happy snaps. Not long after that we saw herd of deer, we think they were mule deer’s. There were two bucks with good sized antlers. In addition we saw a number of Pheasants doing a “fly-by” of the RV, these were too quick to photograph.
The countryside is fairly arid in this part of Wyoming, similar to outback Australia, with none or very little top soil; nevertheless it does have a certain beauty about it.
Tonite we have stopped in the township of Cody, with little to offer in the way of camping spots over the last hour of our drive here, we are at Wal Marts again. Daylight savings took place just a day or so ago, and it gets dark very quickly now, which also a contributing factor to us not finding a spot leading into town.