Sunday April 30, 2011 Guernsey State Park, Wyoming
Sunny, low clouds, 33 degrees choppy lake, blustery winds rocked our world in Rosie II in the night and early morning.
Snowed during the night. Decided not to go through Fort Laramie as too cold and windy. Pretty country--sandy soil—pine studded low hills. Looked/drove around the town of Guernsey before continuing on highway 26 toward Casper. Valerie hiked to some rutted trails looking like Nanook of the North in her father’s old parka. The ruts were carved in the soft stone as they braked their wagons down the cliffs. I stayed in Rosie, as too cold for me and could hardly open door
Nearby there was Register Cliff where emigrants wrote their names in soft limestone. One carving was a fur trapper as early as 1797. Soldiers from Fort Laramie also wrote their names on the bluff that is currently home to many swallows.
Wind continued to rock Rosie and there was snow on all the mountains and ranges we could see. Rockies plainly in view. Passed an overturned trailer---wind too strong or going too fast for down hill. The pickup was about 50 feet down the cliff on the
other side. Gusts very strong. Saw several antelope. Stopped at rest stop near Orin as Valerie needed to relax her arms for a few minutes. Hit snow west of Douglas.
Drove 5 miles off highway to Ayres Natural Bridge. Really pretty red rock canyon where the creek has carved a Bridge out of the soft rock. Flocks and flocks of some kind of sparrow on side of road and would fly into road and around us. Gassed up in Casper, WY—4803 mileage---cheap gas at $3.399 per gal!
Drove by Independence Rock; it was not very memorable for us as it seemed like a little Stone Mountain near where we live in Georgia. Amanda tells us on “June the 19th: Traveld about 3 miles, came to Independence Rock and passed around the right hand corner, this rock is an isolated granite rock about 100 and 25 rods long, 100 and 20 feet high, the sides of it covered with the names of hundreds of travelers who have passed within the last few years, the mountainous rocky ridges along Sweetwater are chiefly granite, about 6 miles from Independence Rock we cross the river by fording…went about 6 miles and passed
Devil’s Gate, a gate in the granite ridge through which the Sweetwater passes.”.
We passed by a geologic feature called the Ice Slough, where the emigrants could dug down a little ways through the marsh and actual gather ice, which they would use for their drinks and to preserve food. This ice was preserved from the previous winter and could be found as late as early July.
Several herds of mule deer were close to the road and several herds on antelope higher up as we drove into Lander. At a forecasted nighttime temp of 20 degrees, we decided too cold to camp, so stayed at the Lander Holiday Inn and had Chinese food for dinner. Lander has lots of wildlife sculptures in various spots in town.
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