With the Waldo Canyon fire almost out it was time to get some of our summer vacation in. With LJ on a month long NOLS trip we had a week left before we needed to be in Lander to pick her up. Our goal was to see if we could drive the Bighorn Mountains from South to North using mostly back country dirt roads.
We left Colorado Springs on the morning of another HOT day. After a busy week supporting the Red Cross shelters it was nice to see Colorado Springs on the rear view mirror. The drive north on Interstate 25 was dulled with the smoky haze from all the fires. (This also muted the colors in all the photos that I took) A short stop near Gurnsey Wyoming let us check out Register Cliff and some impressive wagon tracks along the Oregon Trail. It is hard to imagine traveling through this hot arid country in a covered wagon at a walking pace.
WIth a final stop fOur next stop was in a HOT Casper where the temperature was over 100. Needless to say we where ready to find some cooler temperatures. Heading west from Casper we made a short stop to check out Hells Half Acre. This an impressive area of erosion leaving small canyons and formations of a multitude of muted desert colors.
Still fighting the heat it was time to gain some elevation and start our adventure through the Bighorns. We headed north on County Road 105 which is the start of South Bighorn Scenic Back-way. This road took us into the Southern or Lower Bighorns and finally we started gaining some altitude and finding some cooler air. A right on County Road 109 took us up into the low mountains and our first camp at Buffalo Creek Campground. The campground was a pleasant BLM developed site with a clean pit toilet. The campground is fenced in to keep the open range cattle out. We were the only ones in the camp.
A wonderful dinner next to a nice little stream finished our day.