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Old 06-07-2011, 01:21 AM   #225
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Mooses Galore!

Lucy is camped in Buffalo, Wyoming, which is right on the edge of the Bighorn National Forest.

We ventured into the Forest today in pursuit of the ever elusive Moose. Well, we struck Moose gold! We had 13 Moose sightings, including a group of three cows who were feeding together. This is a rare sight in Moosedom. Adult Mooses don't usually gather in groups. They are mostly solitary.

We took a lot of pictures, some of which share below. We have had successful Moosing in this part of the Bighorn National Forest in years past.

We also scouted out some campsites in the Forest for use when we get the truck camper. These sites are overlooking prime Moose territory.

We arrived back at Lucy as darkness fell. It was indeed a super Moose day. It was SuEllyn's Birthday, and she really enjoyed it.

Brian




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Old 06-07-2011, 01:29 AM   #226
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Oops! Forgot the pictures.

Brian
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:52 AM   #227
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Brian and SuEllyn,

I am thoroughly enjoying your adventures in Moosedom! I look forward to reading your thread daily and living your adventures vicariously through your postings.

I am wondering about something, however. You mentioned this morning about finding some camping spots for your truck camper. And here I must say that we have not done any (nada, zip, zilch) in-the-wild boondocking -- we have only done Wal-Mart and Cracker Barrel (not wild at all, but very grateful to them for the overnights). So, now for my question: Is it okay to just find a spot in a national park, national forest, etc. to camp; do Rangers ever come along and tell you that you must move on? I'm just wondering. I don't see any harm in boondocking as long as we respect the fact that it is public property and leave it as pristine as the day we pulled over.

Thanks so much for your response.

Deb
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:23 AM   #228
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Brian and SuEllyn,

I am thoroughly enjoying your adventures in Moosedom! I look forward to reading your thread daily and living your adventures vicariously through your postings.

I am wondering about something, however. You mentioned this morning about finding some camping spots for your truck camper. And here I must say that we have not done any (nada, zip, zilch) in-the-wild boondocking -- we have only done Wal-Mart and Cracker Barrel (not wild at all, but very grateful to them for the overnights). So, now for my question: Is it okay to just find a spot in a national park, national forest, etc. to camp; do Rangers ever come along and tell you that you must move on? I'm just wondering. I don't see any harm in boondocking as long as we respect the fact that it is public property and leave it as pristine as the day we pulled over.

Thanks so much for your response.

Deb
Deb, that is a great question. Responsible camping is permitted in most areas of a National Forest. For instance, in the Bighorn National Forest you can camp anywhere it is not specifically prohibited by sign. Some areas do not allow vehicle traffic, but tent camping would be OK.

The areas that we have scouted out are easily accessible by a 4wd truck, but would be a challenging tow for a travel trailer. Some of these areas are regularly used by RV's of different types. People do pull trailer into these areas, but I'm not sure that I would want to pull Lucy in there.

As far as we can see, you can camp in these areas and Rangers will not bother you as long as you are a responsible camper. Actually, you don't see many Rangers in the National Forests.

We are pursuing this truck camper thing so that we can spend a couple of days out in the Moosing grounds without having to return Lucy.

Brian
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:47 AM   #229
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New NSF dispersed camping rules

Recently in the RV Travel newsletter I get via email, the following was noted about NSF boondocking:

The National Forest Service is starting to implement the new Motor Vehicle Travel Management Use Plan (TMP), which limits which forest service roads and dispersed camping areas (boondocking sites) are permitted for driving and camping. When planning on boondocking in the national forests this summer and fall, check out the individual forest's website and/or forest office for a map of authorized roads and camping areas before setting up camp. It could cost you a $5,000 fine if you accidentally use an unauthorized road or campsite.

It is another example of too much government by restricting access to the public lands we own as Americans.

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Old 06-07-2011, 09:49 AM   #230
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There are many camping spots in the national forest. People have discovered nice areas and built fire rings and there will be a short trail to the spot. Those are the ones to use.

Some people continue to explore deeper in with 4WD or four wheelers and cut new trails and start new camping spots. Avoid these. The four wheelers are especially destructive—these are the small, one person things you see advertised on TV. Now there are larger 2 person ones. These can go places a compact pickup cannot and a lot of forest land is no longer pristine, but cut through by newer trails. This has happened largely in the last 10 years or so. Vegetation is destroyed, young trees trampled and animals disturbed. Clear creeks become muddy when people drive across them or through them repeatedly. All this impacts water supplies downstream.

Brian is right—you rarely see a ranger. The budgets go to fire suppression and oil and gas development and the budgets of all public lands agencies have been starved for years. So the result is the forests are being degraded and while it is possible to enjoy them, things will probably be different in the future. The people who break the rules are rarely caught. There's nothing like relaxing in a remote spot when a trail bike goes screaming by (no mufflers) or a couple of yahoos on 4 wheelers kick up a bunch of dust.

Reclusive animals like mooses will be harder to find and fewer may survive. The four wheelers have organizations that lobby for all public lands to be used for any purpose in any way. They sue the gov't frequently to increase access. By July, the forests will be busy with vehicles of all sorts and that will continue into October. We prefer the shoulder seasons—like May and early June and then mid September until snow comes. It's quieter.

Rant over. I really enjoy following Brian and SuEllyn's trips and glad they can still go moosing and I worry whether it will be possible in another generation.

Gene
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:40 PM   #231
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In the Bighorn National Forest there are vehicle restriction signs already in place that you are not allowed to drive a vehicle beyond that point. There are also some "no camping" signs that say there is no camping allowed between this point and t paved highway. These are the only restrictions that we have seen so far to dispersed camping.

Gene is correct. The campsites that we have scouted out are regularly camped on. Many have camper-built rock fire pits in place. These are easy to find. All you have to do is follow the tire-track trails.

Brian
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:46 PM   #232
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Laundry Day

Lucy is still camped in Buffalo. It was laundry day. Fortunately, the campground has 8 washers and 6 dryers, and we were the only ones doing laundry. We used 7 of the washers and 3 of the dryers. It has been 47 days since we left home, and we had accumulated a whole bunch of dirty laundry. Obviously this chore took most of the day. We now have clean clothes.

We also did some minor repairs in Lucy while the laundry machines ran. We finally finished up at about 6:00 PM.

We jumped in Olivia, and ran up the mountain in search of Mooses. In the two hours that we had, we spotted a total of 12 Mooses. This was great for our quite abbreviated Moosing day.

We got back to Lucy at dark for a late supper. It's supposed to go down into the 30's tonight here in Wyoming.

Brian





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Old 06-08-2011, 03:45 AM   #233
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CrawfordGene: "Brian is right—you rarely see a ranger."

I manage a Sheriff's Office in Louisiana representing the fourth largest geographic jurisdiction in the state.....1400 sq miles. My patrol guys cover hundreds of miles of rural roads, 75 miles of interstate, and several hundred square miles of national forest (kisatchie). There IS a federal presence there, maybe one ranger on an irregular basis, so we contract with the Forest Service to patrol the campsites, roads, and "boondocking" areas that the hunters use. There is seldom any real trouble there, mostly we go out to find lost hikers as this territory is pretty remote. Our narcotics guys are also out there some snooping around when we are tracking meth cooks.

We patrol in standard units (crown vics, SUVs, 4 wheelers, a couple of Rhinos, and horseback). My narcs, who fancy themselves as some sort of special forces honchos, run around in camo and go out on foot to "lounge" in the weeds.

On our turf it is ok to set up camp where you can as long as you don't cause a hazard. We have seen all sorts of trailers but in the last 10 years I have never seen or had reports on an Airstream out there in the boonies.

Where I live and work it is a popular recreational exercise to explore the National Forest on horseback, and these "trailrides" can grow quite large, with upwards of a hundred riders getting together to slowly ride out and back somewhere and then cook and drink at home base (kind of like a typical Airstream rally). We also provide one or two deputies to act as security and escorts for these events when asked. We have never had trouble with these folks, and the deputies like to participate.

There is an actual for-real NF campground about 20 minutes from my house and sometimes wife and I scoot over there to spend the night, especially when I've had a particularly bad day. It is a pretty campground, not used much; in fact, I can't recall ANY NF campground in any state visited by us that wasn't pretty.

You can see and hear me introduce our office on Youtube by going to YouTube - ‪NPSO-Law Enforcement-Intro‬‏.

I'm the old guy with the silver hair and worried look.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:05 PM   #234
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Natchitoches, Louisiana! One of our favorite cities in all the U.S.! Lucky you.

Looks like moose hunting is looking up. Thanks for sharing the pics.


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Old 06-08-2011, 07:12 PM   #235
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Lucy broke camp this morning in Squirrel, Idaho, and headed out to hopefully better moosing grounds. We drove up to West Yellowstone, Montana, where we drove along US 191 in Yellowstone National Park. The scenery was quite impressive. We continued up to Bozeman, Montana, where we caught I-90. We proceeded east through Billings and into Wyoming, and on to Buffalo. We did a long day (480 miles), but got to Buffalo right at dark. We have stayed here before. This section of the Bighorn National Forest is usually loaded with Mooses. We'll be headed out into the Forest tomorrow.

Brian
Bummer so far and yet so close. Un-fortunately I am not home.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:34 PM   #236
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Bummer so far and yet so close. Un-fortunately I am not home.
We'll make it there when you're home one of these days, Michelle.

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Old 06-09-2011, 01:14 AM   #237
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Mooses in the Rain

We're all still in Buffalo, Wyoming. It was raining when we got up this morning, so we got a slow start. We finally made it up to Moosing territory late this afternoon. It was cold (40's) and still raining off and on. The dirt Forest Roads were a little wet and muddy in spots, but Olivia's four wheel drive had no trouble navigating the muddy areas.

We didn't expect much in the way of Moose sightings under these conditions. We were most surprised that we had a total of 22 Moose sightings, one of our best days ever. We even found a group of 5 Mooses grazing together. That is the most we have ever seen together at one time. We were even able to get a couple of decent pictures of the group.

As the rain continued and the roads were getting muddier, we decided to call it a day. We headed back to Buffalo and decided to have dinner at the Winchester Steak House. This restaurant is touted as the best steak restaurant in the state of Wyoming. We had not been there before. It was really crowded for a small town restaurant on a rainy Wednesday night in a town that is over 100 miles from the nearest city of any size. We had to wait about a half hour for a table. It sure was worth the wait. The steak was absolutely great! If you ever find yourself in Buffalo, Wyoming, this is the place to go.

It is still raining as we are getting ready to turn in. The tapping of the rain on Lucy's aluminum roof is comforting.

Brian




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Old 06-09-2011, 12:25 PM   #238
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For my money, the best steaks in Wyoming are in Hudson...between Riverton and Lander. There's two steak houses. Both are the best!
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