A few weekends ago, I ran up to the Bighorns for a quick weekend getaway. I had planned my first backpacking trip of the summer starting out from the Circle Park trailhead in the southeastern part of the range and drove up to near the trail head Friday after work to car camp before hitting the trail the next day. When driving in to Circle Park after sunset on Friday night, I could see in the twilight that the meadows were packed full of wildflowers and knew an early rise to shoot sunrise was in order. The 4:40 alarm came around way too soon but crawling out of my warm sleeping bag was surprisingly easy; I was excited to get out and check out all those wildflowers! Once up and about, I was bummed to see that not as much as a single cloud was in sight! Still, I can’t complain about how the sun back lit some of the taller flowers and made them appear to glow.
Posts Tagged With: Bighorn Mountains
Circle Park Wildflowers – Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming
Following in the Footsteps of Butch Cassidy – Hole in the Wall Country, Wyoming
Butch Cassidy, born Robert Leroy Parker, was born in Utah in 1866 and grew up to become one of the most infamous outlaws of the American West. Butch robbed banks and trains and also engaged in horse theft and cattle rustling. Although born to a religious Mormon family, Butch Cassidy devoted his life to crime. Well, I’m certainly not following the Butch Cassidy’s footsteps in the concept of following his career path, but a few weeks ago on a recent trip to a remote area in north central Wyoming, I literally walked in his footsteps!
During Cassidy’s life as a criminal, he favored a few locations to hide out in between committing his crimes; one such location in Wyoming is known as The Hole in the Wall. “The Wall” is a red rock escarpment that runs for nearly fifty miles and is broken at only one notch along its entire length. The remote location coupled with difficult access via the one passage through the wall made for an easily defensible hideout for late 19th century outlaws. Cassidy was not the only outlaw that spent time hiding here, but a conglomeration of bandits also used the Hole in the Wall hideout. Ultimately, the loose band of criminals became known as the Hole in the Wall Gang.
Only a handful of ranches and hunting outfitters still operate in the area making Hole in the Wall country as remote as it was in Cassidy’s time. Other than the grass, sagebrush, and expansive views, the only other thing I would describe to be in abundance is barbed wire fences; I drove through numerous gates to get to The Hole in the Wall and it was a challenge to keep fence lines out of my photographs.
Butch Cassidy spent time in prison for some of his crimes but later in his criminal career he fled the United States and was killed in a shootout in South America in late 1908. Thankfully by tracing his footsteps I won’t meet the same fate!
Tensleep Creek – Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming
After spending last summer working in southern Florida, I’ve been itching for months now to get out and camp in the mountains. Last weekend, after nearly a year and a half break from camping in the mountains, I headed up to the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming. Not only was this trip my first camping trip of the summer, but was the first time I’ve ever camped in the Bighorn Range. After an above average snow year, I was not able to penetrate very deep into the mountains, but still found a great camping spot in a massive meadow along Tensleep Creek.
I got into the mountains later than I had hoped and had little time to set up camp and then get out and shoot sunset. I was only able to get off a handful of quick pictures before darkness set in. If I would have known it would have been my only colorful sunrise or sunset of the weekend, I may have hustled more to get out of Casper earlier! I woke up Saturday morning to an inch or so on the ground! While the sunrise was pretty much non-existent due to the cloud cover, I still had fun running around taking pictures before the snow melted off.
An uncommon occurrence in Wyoming, there was little wind on Saturday morning. I took advantage of the lack of wind and enjoyed the reflections of the mountains in the ample pools melt water.
Even without the high peaks of the Bighorns in view, incredible views still abound. After my morning photography exploration, I set off on a hike up to East Tensleep Lake. I was surprised to find that even though the lake sits around 9700′, about three feet of still still holds on in the forests surrounding the lake! I guess it will still be some time before I press into the high country!
After hiking to East Tensleep Lake, I ended up enjoying a nap in my tent while another small snow storm blew through. At this point, I was wondering if it was really mid-June or was it actually mid-May. The storm did pass and I was able to head back out in time to shoot sunset and then later, the full moon; but, I will share those images another day.