It is all I can do not to fling my arms open wide and belt out the “Sound of Music” at the top of my lungs when we revisit the Snowy Range Mountains this week. However, concerns that I will be locked away for cruel and unusual harassment of wildlife and offense to local tourists cause me to refrain.
Unlike the frigid winds we encountered on our last visit here, today the still somewhat snowy peaks are temperate with only the gentlest of breezes stirring the air. The sun brightens a kaleidoscope of mountain flowers along the hiking trails and I set out to photograph them all. Here are some of my favorites:
At the Miner’s Camp turnout hike, I stumble across this memorial plaque. On Medicine Bow Peak, seen in the background, a 1955 airline crash killed 66 people on their way to Salt Lake City from Denver. Though no conclusion was ever drawn regarding the cause of this disaster, the aftermath of the crash of United Flight 409 makes interesting reading.
Along the Lincoln Highway
Sherry plots a route for a day trip that will take us on portions of the old Lincoln Highway. This privately funded road was the first transcontinental highway for automobiles. “Highway” might be a stretch for the description of this track. I imagine it was more easily traversed than the Oregon trail though.
Our journey begins with an eastbound parade past lumbering trucks using lower and lower gears to crawl up a steep I-80 grade on our way to visit the Lincoln statue. After admiring and finally understanding why a highly elevated bust of Abraham Lincoln dominates the interstate out here in the middle of Wyoming, we venture out on dirt roads into the vast prairie.
The website Sherry uses to guide us along this historic highway suggests that we imagine our new fangled automobile overheating and a tire flattening in submission to the rough road.
All this at a time when roadside assistance was unlikely. Fortunately the worst obstacle we actually encounter is nine miles of tooth rattling wash board dirt road. I overcome that by letting the air out of the Jeep tires!
Encampment - Population 450
Though the town of Encampment is tiny, locals tell us that the museum here is worth a visit. I admit this museum’s two story outhouse is a first for me. In fact, I am impressed with the diverse history of this remote town as told through the displays here.
But my favorite stop in Encampment is the visitor center. While my friends wait in the truck, a very friendly gentleman regales me through a facemask and a screen door (Covaid again) with tales of mining and adventure, then presents me with a handful of free stickers!
At least I think that is what happened. Due to mask muffled speech and the distance between us, I may have also agreed to trade him Matt’s dually pickup in exchange for the stickers and an old El Camino parked at the visitor center. Once I return to the truck, Matt leaves too quickly for the docent to consummate the deal! Not sure we should return to Encampment.