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Old 07-07-2013, 10:07 AM   #29
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No Fish, No Water, No Shade... but a great stop over

Many times you are traveling from point A on the map to point B. In Wyoming these points could be more hours than you want to drive. If you are ever driving to Lander, Wyoming or to Yellowstone National Park... do I have the place! No Fish, No Water, No Shade but you can see Lander and the Wind River Mountains capped with July snow on the horizon.

GPS location: N 42 degrees 39.55' and W 108 degrees 12.59' at 6813' elevation.
Beaver Divide is the geographic name of this impressive rim you will be camped.

The Best way to get to this spot is to take Highway 135 that goes between Sweetwater Station and Lander. Exit on BLM road #2302 which is on your WEST and follow it on a fairly decent road for trailers and camp up to 25 feet of the RIM (easy turn around by pulling into the west side and backing in to the east side) and if you do not want to camp on the rim on the north side of the fence, there is no limit in length. You will drive 1.6 miles off the highway and think you are the only people left on the planet!

This is a great place to rest, hike, ATV, take the 4x4 tow vehicle and follow the roads to the mesa to the Southwest for dramatic views of the Wind River Mountains.

To the west of Lander you can go up the Sinks Canyon "touring" route, into the Wind Rivers and find numerous campsites just off of the county maintained gravel road. We loved Sawmill Creek and hiked the old sawmill roads cut into the forest. There is even a log cabin on the South West of the road. (If, you go to Sawmill Creek use Highway 131 paved and then goes to double wide maintained gravel). When we packed up the dogs and trailer we just turned around and headed back to Lander. We drove only as far as Sawmill Creek, which can easily be found on the map. Warm days and cool nights. Weekend local campers, so get there on a Monday to Thursday... hint, hint.

In this Wind River area there are a number of fishing lakes and streams for smaller trout... but they fight like double their size. Lander fly shops will fill you in to the best spots and access. Most of these areas will handle even you larger than 25 footers! The Sawmill Creek site is Not a white knuckle climb into the mountains, but easy and impressive for even those passengers that tend to worry a bit about mountains roads and... wildlife. There is a bit of water flowing in the Spring in the creek and no fish. Use this area as a base camp if necessary and go to the North West of Lander for fishing opportunities and exploring along the Wilderness Area... Popo Agie. You can water up at the Forest Service in Lander, as you come into town to your East and use the faucett on the front East side of the building. Excellent Water, so no need to be driving heavy from your trip for fear of no water available.

I took some random photographs of the Beaver Divide to build up some remote, yet easily accessed BLM camping. The hand dug road going down into the valley is a former wagon road from Atlantic City, Wyoming to Lander, Wyoming. You will see 100 year old tin cans from the workers campsite near yours. The old cans have lots of solder, and later camp sites do not.

The photographs are Beaver Divide and the first shows the trailer in the center, top rim... WOW.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:41 PM   #30
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WYOMING JADE (Nephrite Jade) and OPAL CAMPING

My source for maps and further information is at The GEMHUNTER - The GEMHUNTER. By Googling Wyoming Jade you can find lots of information.

The previous location at Beaver Divide and No Fish, No Water, No Shade... well I wanted to give you another heads up for the Indian Jones rock hunter that lives in some of your souls.

A friend of mine has a Nephrite Jade claim north of Jeffery City, Wyoming. It is the typical variety of Jade that is found in Wyoming. The mine is not open to the public... but if you are healthy, can stand a lot of walking, are curious to the point you will not give up right away on surface hunting... you might be able to hack a few days of treasure hunting.

The two maps I have attached are from a website that covers some parts of Wyoming that are open for surface hunting of gemstones. Chalcedony agate is another common gemstone to be found in this same area. If, after reading this reply and the previous reply you can advance your knowledge of the area by going to the website I recommend to you.

The jade found in Wyoming, where my wife, myself and our two Blue Heelers will be going after the July hot days become relatively cooler August warm to hot days coming soon. The jade you are hunting for come in the shape of pebbles to boulders, jade slicks. These are some of the highest quality jade to be found in North America. As nice as the Canadian jades. These jade slicks are known all over the world for the quality. It is Wyoming's State Gemstone. The curious thing about this valuable jade... no one has discovered its source! So by wandering about in the washed out gravel benches you are looking for light green, green, dark green to black... slicks. The slicks when not broken will have a "rind" of brown or other color that does not resemble jade... this is why they are so difficult to find, at first.

The map shows a general area. Even that is vague, as in the case of a jade slick being found AT the Rawlins Golf Course! You will see a bit of green just to the east of town.

My theory is... and since I admit I have only read about and have been shown jade slicks... these eroded out of the original deposits... hundreds of millions of years ago from mountains that deposited thousands of feet of sediments into the local basins. So the sources may have eroded away and never to be found. But, the locals just do not give up the hunt. A line drawn on the map could be off a mile, ten or a hundred miles. Nobody knows for sure and the old timers hunting jade in the pre 1945 era were not pointing to the spots, either.

Opal. This is common white opal and an article in the Denver Post some ten years or so ago caused a stampede of Opal Mine Claims. These are NOT the fire opals like northwestern Nevada or Australia. It is referred to as common Opal. You can find it also in west central Kansas and plenty in southwest New Mexico for starters... so it is around. But jewelry is made from it and it is mixed in with the Jade in these locations you would find yourself.

You do not need to dig as this stuff is on the surface. A shovel would not hurt. Maybe a standard 18 ounce rock pick. Some jade slicks are 1 ounce or 500 pounds. Just a bit showing on the surface and it becomes a three foot diameter monster! The easy pickings were found 70 years ago, but when the wind blows, the rain comes in sideways and the winter snows melt... it is a new "ball game".
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:48 PM   #31
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Wyoming Jade and Sweetwater Agates and Opals

For those of you who are free on this coming weekend... we expect to be camped at the Beaver Rim location through the coming weekend of August 16, 17 and 18th. This camping spot is in the middle of the search areas we plan to explore and about 40 miles, or less, from Lander where we will be watering up and picking up block ice for the ice chest. You can see the aluminum glow from Highway 287 before you drop into the valley from Beaver Divide/Rim to Lander.

If you have NEVER roughed it or hunted for rocks or fossils... Nancy and I will be more than happy to give you as much adventure as you can handle. You will get a "rock education" as well. Since we are really close to a town with... even a gasoline station...Lander, this is a piece of cake compare to some areas. Since the area is high on the rim, there is no problem for thunder storm flooding us out.

Our plan is to "water up" at the Lander Forest Service at the SE side of Lander. Ice up at the gasoline station about a block north of the Forest Service office. Maybe pick up an ice cream cone and tow back to Beaver Divide. Detach the AS and the following day begin our search. Since there is an area of maybe 350 square miles of BLM land to explore... everyone will have all the hiking possible without tripping over one another. (The water faucet at the Forest Service Office is on the North side of the building and near the bushes along the building. Just in the event you are there after hours and nobody to ask WHERE IS THE FAUCET?

From here you can go anywhere in NW Wyoming for fishing and mountain camping. Just a place to dry out if the mountains are wet. Recall the... drive in dry and leave wet... for Mountain Monsoon time in July and August. Even the camp site has an "all season" gravel surface, so you will not sink into mud and gumbo.

You see our two Blue Heelers... and you will know it is us!
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:41 AM   #32
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Automobile found while hunting Jade

Sometimes the more remote an area, the more interesting the finds. This was one of several antique car finds on our last Wyoming trip. With an oil change and some paint... we could be towing our AS in style!

Some distance from this vehicle was about 15% of a Model A right off of I-80 in a ditch and obviously parted out decades ago. One small, abandoned ranch had a ditch with a number of antique "rusty looking" automobiles holding the erosion down. So, maybe I need to be in the parts business for antique automobiles and keep away from rocks, minerals and fossils.

While chasing down some potential "sites" we came into a 9,000 foot elevation RV Camp Ground with a dozen or more RV's, Trailers and ATV haulers. This was totally unexpected to see such a large accumulation of people in the forest. Slowly driving by on the way back I noticed dozens of the five gallon plastic buckets sitting alongside the majority of campers... GOLD PROSPECTORS! As we crossed the creek I noted its name and yes, this area has flour gold, which is a fine gold, but with the stream running the gold crowd was having a great time. A friend of mine said they do come out with enough to make it worth their time, but he was sticking to Jade mining.

Not an Airstream in sight, anywhere off the asphalt. One older Avion was as close to aluminum clad trailers to be found.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:01 AM   #33
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Wow, back in the days when wood was a structural element in an auto.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #34
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Foxpark, Wyoming & Medicine Bow National Forest

Ah, yes. No fishing unless you go further west to the North Platte headwaters, but the water was 12 to 14 inches in the main stream and maybe some 12 to 14 inch trout along the banks in the deeper shaded holes... but I digress.

For the AS owner wanting to get the feel of higher elevation camping in the dense forests... but within easy range of Laramie, Saratoga, Rawlins and even towns in Northern Colorado... this is it. You do not think your 25 foot AS will manage the roads. There were Raptors and toy haulers in places only a helicopter might have been able to drop them off. There were so many camping sites that the locals, Carbon County 6 Wyoming plates, would camp their trailer and come up on the weekends or were staging for a long Labor Day holiday of camping, bicycling and ATV trails limited only by your ambition to see the Moose, deer, bear and avoiding the porcupines.

Start at a "cultivated" camping spot found along the all season Forest Service roads. Then bird dog a nicer spot with a view with the best wildlife options. Gasoline at Woods Landing was $4.25 a gallon compared to Laramie at $3.45, but when you figure in the trip to Laramie and back to Woods Landing, pay the $4.25.

You have access to the Platte River Wilderness from your campsite. You also have access to miles and miles of well groomed abandoned Laramie, Hahn's Peak and Pacific Railroad biking trail. It was intended for mining and lumbering in 1901 and found that the mines could not support the train and the county made the abandoned track into a bicycle and hiking trail. You can pick up an occasional rail spike and plate if you want to carry them around to your vehicle.

Cool evenings, down to 39 degrees mid August and into the low 80's on a hot day. Mostly in the mid 70's. The thin air cools fast at night and warms up immediately with sun on the skin of your trailer at sunrise. Quiet, even though you would run into "huge" trailers in places you would have thought the tree branches would have prevented any travel... but it was all imagination. The RV's and Trailers made our 23 foot AS look like a wheel barrow in the Sahara Desert! These drivers have to be the experts of experts to navigate the well managed, in most cases..., Forest Service roads. Even the GPS in our Tundra were trackable.

The Forest Service sells the best maps of the area. Buy one in Laramie or Saratoga. We were not there to fish but looked over the North Platte as being a bit shallow for any size, but you could tell that fishermen were walking along the shore trails through the brush. I would put on some tennis shoes and wade into the mid stream, at 12 to 15 inches and not sweat the slow moving river. Bring some inner tubes for the kids. Nice clear water, pebble and boulder bottoms.

Another reason why we like Wyoming and so close to larger towns in the Colorado and Wyoming area.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:28 AM   #35
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Frame and doors lined with WOOD

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Wow, back in the days when wood was a structural element in an auto.
That is why I called it a Stage Coach / Automobile with the riveted frame and wood attached to bolt everything onto it. A friend of mine wanted a photo to send to a collector of antique automobiles to see if the frame had a value to him. We figure with some sweat equity we could get this loaded onto a flat bed trailer with out much trouble. Then we would approach who owned the abandoned ranch with a number of Model A looking vehicles pushed into a ravine outside of the ranch property in BLM.

There was no name on the car to be found, but it was longer than most. It must have had a canvas top as there were these snaps loose in the sand. Nobody had seen what was left of it, as there were no bullet holes. I found an engine main bearing, so the engine must had been parted out by someone decades ago. Always something to keep an idle mind busy.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:08 AM   #36
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Grey's River Road...Thanks Ray!

Based on this thread, we took our Flying Cloud about 35-40 miles South of Alpine onto the Grey's River Road. Wow!! This was definitely one of the best vacations we've ever had. The road was a bit dusty (our new A/S looked like an old, rotting one in a vacant lot, as we camped), but sooooo worth it. We were able to pull up right near the river to camp, and the fishing was great (hauled in many beautiful cutts, and a couple of whitefish). We saw almost nobody but rangers the entire time (early July, 2013). We had to be a bit careful with our water (to avoid trips back into Alpine), so we took showers using an external Zodi camp shower and popup shower enclosure. I can't thank you enough, Ray, for all the inspiring posts. Keep them coming!
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:27 PM   #37
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Wyoming is WET this June... be aware of WET

In May the south and central part of Wyoming (this was at Medicine Bow I was given the nearly three feet of wet snow during the last storm) had a wet, nearly three feet of snow. The grass is green. The grass is tall. There... IS tall grass which is a blessing to the Ranches that now can let their grass ranges rest with less cattle and look forward to another wet year.

Our last trip, when the A/C quit working in the Las Vegas, NV 100 to 110 days, no sign of a cloud, other than the San Diego smoke all the way into Utah... we stopped at a favorite area in Wyoming.

There were lakes and ponds in ALL of the lower, normally dried out low areas. The area looked like a green Ireland as far as the eye could see. The snow in the mountains to the south were impressive. Humidity? Now Wyoming was getting a taste of humidity and in the mornings dew on the outside of the trailer. The second day we packed up and left. More thunderstorms coming. Hail and rain. We made it back to Castle Rock, Colorado when the pea sized hail and showers were beginning here. Tornado warnings and sightings. What a trip!

As we entered Castle Rock there was a tornado sighted to the East of us, maybe 20 miles. Everyone's cell phone was ringing giving the warning. People went NUTS. My wife, wanting to pick up the mail at the Post Office, left me parked watching... watching the skies. Then all of a sudden, the Post Office parking lot was empty. People would have driven across the medians and grass if they could have. Total chaos... the Post Office announced... " we are closing due to a tornado sighting east of us." Now I know what a total panic that can be caused... when the Post Office gets the word out. My wife DID get our vacation mail and was the last out the door. While I waited, I took a couple photographs. I was planning of going away from the threatening storm, if needed, while everyone else must have been heading home. The ENTIRE town of Castle Rock was jammed up with traffic within 15 minutes anxious to go... somewhere. And... me with a trailer in tow taking the least traveled direction... AWAY from the moving storm.

OK, now that is out. The day we arrived at our camping spot on the prairie north of Medicine Bow, Wyoming I was prospecting for anything that looked interesting and my youngest Blue Heeler and myself walked up to a coiled rattlesnake that resembled a large "cow patty" in color but just very tall and making the familiar "hissing" of the rattle. Tail and head into the air... saying...hello guys. We slowly kept walking and, no, I did not want to go back to my pickup and take a photograph. I am not sure if my dog or I jumped back the furthest upon sighting the snake, which I would have estimated nearly 4 feet and near a baseball size hole in the ground. Maybe drying out from all the moisture. This was the granddaddy of prairie rattlers in my experiences in Wyoming.

So, the Bear looking into the trailer on our driveway the night before we left. The A/C dying in the Las Vegas heat. Flooded streams, lakes and ponds of Wyoming. The rattlesnake at a place we had never encountered one before. But the best... Wyoming Hummingbirds were everywhere. Maybe it had been 8 years since anyone remembers them to be in such large numbers. The humm and buzz was enough to distract anyone. I made up the name of Wyoming Hummingbirds, as I only know of a couple hummingbird species that frequent our home and feed off our feeders. These fed off of US... the Wyoming variety you would call... mosquito. Billions. These Wyoming variety were Alaskan sized! We were prepared and always have repellant in the trailer. Saved our lives... but after the wet, the humidty, the storms, the mosquitos... we retreated to find... Miller Moths invading Castle Rock.

What a Spring to remember. Also... one to forget.
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:17 PM   #38
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CODY, WYOMING a must stop to or from Yellowstone Park

Cody, Wyoming... plan on two to three days!

Cody, Wyoming is one of the gateways to Yellowstone National Park. I prefer Cody to Jackson... any time, any day, for any other reason that Cody has more to offer. But this is from a former resident of Wyoming who illegally moved to Colorado and staying put.

Cody has rivers. Cody has the Buffalo Bill State Park to the west on the way to Yellowstone Park. Cody has some of the finest restaurants on the same highway heading to Yellowstone. To find one of the two we visited... Sunset House on 8th Street and Granny's just a bit further east are excellent. The Irma Hotel we were late for the lunch buffet, but it looked good to me with the chicken and prime rib... all you can eat. Maybe next time.

There are at least two and up to four RV Parks in the town of Cody. They, of course to us, were packed light sardines in a can... but you might find them just nice and cozy. For $17 a day the Buffalo Bill State Park west of town on Highway 14/16/20 just 6 miles was a great buy. For an extra $5 you can get power. There are forest service style restrooms, drinking water and a dump provided. Electrical sites are by reservation. All others are "first come, first serve".

The one and only State Park entrance is open during the day and after hours and on the south side of the road along the lake. Find yourself a spot and check in the next morning if you arrive after hours. Most trailers, RV's and tent campers were leaving around 8AM, so many spots open up early. We had plenty to pick from the several areas (State Park information 307-587-9227, Reservations 877-996-7275, ron.livesay@wyo.gov or wyoparks.state.wy.us) Open May to October. Why... when the snow arrives the State does not want to be digging you out of a drift.

The western end of the reservoir has several other camping areas, which we did not check out... but just to make you aware they exist.

The spots are mostly easy in and drive out with a picnic table and grill. Wonderful views of the Big Horn Mountains and a large lake. Boat fishing and the Shoshone River and any other river you might encounter... as there are many and running clear and cold. No generator use after 10PM... so quiet camping from 10PM to 6PM.

Do visit the Buffalo Bill Dam visitor center on the east end of the reservoir. Free and interesting.

Do figure on two days at the camp site. One day to get things settled and a run through Cody absent the trailer. One day to finish what you started on the first day AND easily a third day to finish up what you have started.

The main draw is the Buffalo Bill Museum. Pay for one day and you can return on the second day. This takes two days of casual or moving fast through all of the well organized layout. This place is more than your mind can handle at one day. The firearms, the Buffalo Bill material, the western Art, the live raptors being shown outside... wagons, log cabins... you will not be disappointed.

The downtown is full of clean shops and interesting people. Bikers, travelers, campers and those staying at the many hotels on the main street through town... Highways 14/16/20. I finally found a nice Stetson hat that fit my head in Cody! Although there is no western boot that will fit my feet, anywhere, even here.

The geology around Cody is dramatic for any flat lander. Those of us comfortable with towering cliffs with year round snow on top... Cody is still friendly and cozy. Even if you have been to Yellowstone, Cody is really one of my favorite "town?, city?" in Wyoming. I have been nearly everywhere in Wyoming, Cody is number one. Even though the millionaire retired ranchers go to Sheridan, Wyoming... it is not Cody. Jackson... only if you are there to ski or going to the Grand Tetons... check out the Star Valley options or the Grey's River campsites in the National Forest.

Fill your trailer's water tank AT the State Park. This is decent mountain water they use to have in Coors Beer in Golden, Colorado. Fill up your water tank at the dump site which has a pump and scattered around the camping areas. It makes no sense to haul 300 pounds of water up this canyon... which will not taste as good either.

IF you have not been to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument... this might be an opportunity to run into Montana. No place to spend the evening, so make sure you arrive early and leave early. Everyone is walking around like there is a funeral and whisper to one another, so be prepared for that. A number of RV parking spots are provided, but the parking seemed to be one thing the park never considered as only an after thought for visitors. Crow Agency has little to offer, other than a gasoline station and my wife said the restroom was not fit for a pig farm... but you find this out for yourself. Use the Park restroom before you leave, they are well maintained and the stall doors are still screwed to the wall... My wife never exaggerates how restrooms rate... never.

This is a wonderful side trip using the EAST Yellowstone entrance. You could easily enjoy the same amount of time in Cody as Yellowstone! I would have taken some photographs of the State Park and sites in Cody... but maybe this time... you can do it.

A convenient camp just west of Buffalo, Wyoming on the east side of the Big Horn Mountains. This wonderful camp site is just west of town about 8 miles on Highway 16. Look for the all season gravel road on the south of the highway, which is shown as a hiking access exit, but a wonderful flat camping area about 1/4 of a mile off the highway! The access for hiking is further along on this well maintained road. If you want some hiking on the edge of the Bighorn Mountains... this would be a test of your endurance. This may be one of the only FLAT spots in the Bighorns!
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:21 PM   #39
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Ray just wanted to say thanks for your post's/thread. Enjoy the content and descriptions. Saving them for a future trip in that direction.

PS don't even fish but catching our own dinner is on the to do list.
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Old 09-10-2014, 09:50 PM   #40
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Ray, thank you for your excellent trip report & travel details. We first drove through Medicine Bow National Forest nearly three decades ago & hope to travel there again so we greatly appreciate the shared recent adventure...awesome wilderness!
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:28 PM   #41
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What a GREAT thread!
I have been carrying an Orvis Fly Rig around with me for a long time (kid's gave it to me) and actually never used it. Was always hoping to meet up with like minded (Airstream) folks who could give me a crash course on how to use what I have.
Now with this thread, I might have found some great articulations on different locations and points to look for.
Well done!
Thanks

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Old 09-22-2014, 02:30 PM   #42
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Bring Mosquito repellant to Medicine Bow Mountains!

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Ray, thank you for your excellent trip report & travel details. We first drove through Medicine Bow National Forest nearly three decades ago & hope to travel there again so we greatly appreciate the shared recent adventure...awesome wilderness!
******
The last time we ventured into the Medicine Bow Mountains, coming out of Saratoga, Wyoming, it must have been late April. There were snow drifts blocking some parking lots up on top next to the lakes and Medicine Bow Peak. We did find a spot to pull off the road for the evening... but the mosquitos were so thick it looked like a dust storm in Kansas... but it was me and a swarm of these blood sucking varmits.

There is great fishing streams in the area. The "beaver ponds" on top you need to be selective... they freeze to the bottom and there are no fish in some of the beaver dams / ponds. We would sometimes watch the unknowing fishermen slapping the water with their best equipment... and only getting discouraged. Beaver have not been known to hit a fly, but there is always a first time. The fish are larger in the lakes on top... but these are like Yellowstone Lake fish. Smart. They have tasted a fly or two and have been made aware of looking really close at a dry or wet fly hitting the water!

This IS high elevation camping. Take it easy at first, or you can get a headache that will want you out of there immediately! We use to say "Drive in Dry and leave Wet". The high areas are green because they have their private clouds and showers, usually in the early evening. At some times, even during the sunny mornings, it begins to cloud up and you are wet... again. Colorado is even better... the come dry and leave wet.

Lakes and ponds. Mosquitos.
Running creeks and rivers. Not as many.
Just be prepared. Keep them out of the trailer as nobody sleeps well knowing one is going to be drawing blood from your forehead and nose.

Bears. Aw shucks. Just a carnivore that will run when you open your trailer door.

Coyotes. Howl at night and you cannot find them during the day.

Mosquitos. When there is enough light in the morning or evening, these guys are the biggest threat to humanity. They come into the trailer like it is a Casino Buffet... and you are the special.

Have fun. Be prepared. Bring a pole and buy your flies at the closest fly shop. Wyoming's fishing license for out of staters have been getting more expensive. If you are in the State for awhile, get an annual for out of state. Take out the calculator and figure out what works best for you. I never run into a Game Warden fishing with a license, ever. Fish without a license... you will find that they are behind every tree, bush and flying overhead to get... you.
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