Eroded valleys to soaring heights

Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
Trip End Jul 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Prune Creek Campground

Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Monday, July 5, 2010

We left Sage Creek this morning and it was only a few minutes down the road before we ran into a large herd of Bison in an open prairie only a few feet off the road. After a couple of quick pictures we moved on to the scenic route through the Badlands National Park. The drive was spectacular with the alien formations of eroded bands of rock layers and tall jagged spires. Hannah and I instantly decided this was a place we would be visiting again when we had more time to explore a bit more.

As we left the park we ran into several cowboys herding about 50 or 60 horses down the grassy strip that ran parallel to the road and we knew we were in the real west at last. The horses were strong, fast, and beautiful and the cowboys were postcard perfect. The whole scene was like a show put on especially for us.

The Black Hills loomed off in the distance and we skirted the outside of Rapid City before climbing into them. The road was filled with tourist traps and Mt. Rushmore signs but they ended abruptly once we entered the conifer and evergreen forests of the National Park. We passed though the town of Deadwood made famous by one of our favorite television shows of the same name and you could see the new old-time construction as the town I'm sure has had an increase in visiting hoople-heads since the series aired.

Back on I-90 we sped through the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. The land was pale green and rolling, occasionally broken up by interesting rock formations of deep orange or light brown. Ranches filled up every inch of room and it was not uncommon to see a deer or two running through the meadows. The sky was as big as the landscape and dotted with puffy clouds far as the eye could see.

The Bighorn Mountains eventually came into view and we caught our first glimpse of the snowy top of aptly named Cloud peak nestled between the eastern ridge wall and dark clouds above. The Bighorns loomed large as they rose out of the hills and meadows of Central Wyoming and a hazy sheen of rain hung onto the highest peaks. This was our first large Mountain range in the west and we were anxious to make the drive into them.

We stopped in Sheridan, Wyoming to resupply and grab a quick bite and a beer before heading to our campsite high in the Bighorns. We arrived right before dark with a light drizzle falling down as we set up the caRV. The temperature dropped quickly after sunset and it wasn’t long before we were warmly snug in our sleeping bags and dreaming of our next stop – Yellowstone.
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