Fourteen sleeps in Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Trip Start Mar 23, 2010
Trip End Feb 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Free Camping!

Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Monday, August 16, 2010

Lee: So, way back when in Kalymnos, we met a lovely couple (Molly & Carl) from Portland, Oregon. They mentioned they were heading to a place called Ten Sleep in Wyoming for a climbing trip in August, and invited us along. It suited us, as it was apparently another good summer climbing area in the USA and was vaguely in the same vicinity of the other areas we had planned on going.

So after the amazing wildlife extravaganza of Yellowstone (*cough* *cough*), we drove to the town of Ten Sleep. On the way, I crested a hill and started down the other side passing a highway patrol car in a pullout. Looking in the rear view mirror, I saw the lights go on and knew we were busted. Pulling over, I waited patiently for the officer to approach. (Now, at this point, you must realise that our only knowledge of US law enforcement comes from the TV show COPS. When people get out of the car on COPS, they get beaten and end up laying face down on the bitumen.) The exchange went something like this:

Officer: So ... we got you going a little fast back there.
Me: Oh?
Officer: License and registration.
Me: Ummmm, I gotta remember where that is.
Officer: Is this a rental?
Me: Yes.
Officer: I'll need to see your rental agreement.
Me: Sam, where is that? (Sam starts rummaging through the glove box). Okay, so my license is in my wallet which is in the boot.
Officer: Okay.
Me: I mean trunk, it's in the trunk.
Officer: Okay.
Me: So I need to get out of the car to get it.
Officer: Okay.
Me: So I'm getting out of the car now.
Officer: Okay.

After doing our best to charm the officer with our quaint Australian-ness, we were let off with a warning. Great!

We had some info that mentioned free camping in the canyon of Ten Sleep, and we located it without too much hassle. However when we found a likely looking spot at around dusk, it started raining. This made setting up camp a bit interesting. In true Bear Grylls fashion, I quickly knocked up a quality shelter with nothing but parachute cord and a deer skin (i.e. several pine logs, rope, climbing tape, and a small tarp). Daily rain would become a feature of our time at Ten Sleep, and our small shelter ended up being a godsend for cooking.

We had a day of climbing by ourselves before Molly, Carl and their crew rolled in. Lacking a guidebook, we just drove around at random until we saw a Suburu, parked, and followed a small trail. The trail eventually headed down to a creek before going up the other side to a cliff. Sam was dubious about the slippery rocks leading across the creek. After some urging from me she went for it and ended up sitting chest deep in icy water. I was paralysed. I didn't know whether to help her, or go for the camera. The fact our passports were in her pack which was now underwater decided the matter. No pics, sorry!

The next day (after driving 20 hours!) the Molly & Carl crew arrived. It was great catching up, and as they'd been several times before, they had some good knowledge about where the best climbing was. The other great thing was that our good friend from Australia, Gareth, also showed up and hung out with us for about 10 days. He'd been alpine climbing in places like the High Sierras, Tetons and Wind River Range for the last couple of months. This kind of climbing gives you huge cardiovascular fitness, but not so much steep rock forearm fitness, so he was keen to get stuck in.

On one of our rest days we drove to Thermopolis which sounds like a town where a superhero might come from, but in fact hosts the "world's largest mineral hot springs". Everyone had a long soak here which was great for tired muscles, but the downside was that because of the sulphur, we all came out smelling quite evil.

Highlights of our time at Ten Sleep were the nightly campfires, guitar sing-alongs, catching and cooking rainbow trout in the coals for dinner, Gareth producing a coffee machine from his recently purchased van ("It came with the van"), watching movies at night in camp, our first smores experience (upmarket marshmallow toasting treats) and meeting a bunch more cool people.

Leaving the canyon on our last day, we realised with some distress that we were on the fuel light and it was a fair drive back to the nearest petrol station. By coasting down hills and driving on the lowest revs possible, we made it into town with two miles remaining on our range meter.
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Dad on

Save a bit of rock for us as we are so tempted to come on over.
Love Dad and Robyn

Mum on

Glad to see you are both still enjoying every moment - and look happy and healthy - Granma loves the news and sends her love too.

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