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Old 06-07-2015, 01:24 PM   #1
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WYOMING and COLORADO Camping 2015

Not to be known as the Chicken Little "The Sky is Falling", I do want to put some reality to the travel brochures with photographs of blue skies and smiling faces camping in Colorado and Wyoming.

This is June 7th. We have had pretty much rain every day for six weeks, with maybe two exceptions. I mention the rain, but the previous late Spring SNOWS did quit. There is a thick mountain snow left upon the Front Range in sight of our home. Pikes Peak, west of Colorado Springs, looks like a giant Ice Cream Cone... vanilla of course. Even in dry years, which the last three have not been "dry", you will go into the mountains dry and leave... wet. That is par for high country weather patterns.

Western Wyoming is wet. My wife's sister lives south of Jackson, Wyoming. They had lots of snow this winter and it has been raining much more than usual.

Be prepared for WET and COOL at higher elevations.

Last year we had a late freeze that decimated our Broadtail Hummingbird population. This year our Broadtail Hummingbird... bird... maybe two survived the late 18 degree Spring weather. Our scrub oak had all of their leaves and pollen tassels frozen and are finally "re-leafing as I type". We use to have twenty or more feeding at our feeders at the house and we might have had two this year. This week I have not even seen the two... Yet the explosion in the number of flying bugs will get your attention. http://www.airforums.com/forums/images/smilies/sad.gif

Be prepared for the "M" word. MOSQUITOS. Even central Wyoming with ponds full of water and wet everywhere, you can be eaten alive. The Snowy Range Mountains along the Colorado-Wyoming border have mosquitos that are as big as any in Texas... if you get my snow, drift. I have seen years in the Snowy Range during July where there are snowdrifts that still blocked parking lots.

Just be aware that "wet" brings mosquitos, muddy roads, humid cool evenings that evaporate if and when the sun rises in the morning. But this heavy dew will dampen your spirits and everything on the ground will adhere to your boots and tennis shoes, dropping off into your trailer.

If you have pets. They will not care one way or the other, but bring some shop towels to wipe them down... paws and all. Tall damp grass, muddy camping area are just a few examples of why Higher Elevation camping can be a challenge.

The Rivers... creeks and streams in the Midwest and East will be flowing high. During the daylight hours the snow melt raises the stream level and as it cools down you will notice the streams dropping in volume in the evenings. Fly Fishing is tough when the water is running high, fast and dirty.

Do not get me wrong. Even though I am anxious to get back into the DESERTS of New Mexico, Utah and Nevada this year, last year and the year before.

This is not a Wyoming or Colorado Tourist announcement. This is just a "bookmark" to put into your Living Colorado or Living Wyoming guidebook. When the weather is... normal, we still get the afternoon showers. But even Lusk, Wyoming had 6 inches of rain, washed out their overpass that heads north to the Black Hills and the low parts of town FLOODED. They are on the side of a hill that slopes north. I cannot imagine the low areas 25 miles north of Lusk, Wyoming, which is on the Nebraska-Wyoming border.

We have had tornadoes in Eastern Colorado. Flooding river valleys in Northeast Colorado.

I have mowed our 5 acres, weed whacked, riding and push lawn mower and weed pulled just to keep some civilized appearances more this Spring than the last five years... combined. It will most likely rain again with the blue morning sky and huge heat induced thunderstorms with rain and HAIL. There was a part of Denver where the hail from one storm needed to be plowed and loaded into dump trucks by front loaders.

I had about 100 pounds of dandelions extracted from my yard this year and still being over un with this Poke Salad Annie bounty! Never... before.

Climate Change. You bet. When the Mountains have a thick coating of last Winter's Snow... it will affect our weather. Imagine if this snow does not melt this year, and builds up more next, and the next year... you will not have to go to Canada or Alaska to see the Glaciers. Colorado's Glaciers melted some 10,000 years ago... somehow in the Geological record of previous warming, cooling, wet and dry spells... we might be in a great time for skiers and dog sledding.

I have not even checked Yellowstone Park... Check ahead and please, be prepared.

We are packed and ready to hit the Desert Country. The animals that thrive on grass will easily fatten up for the coming Winter. Cattle will have plenty. The farm industry of Eastern Colorado... have flooded fields and crop hail damage. This is going to be another year to remember. ...and lets not bring up Oklahoma.
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:11 PM   #2
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Excellent report. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. Are there still areas with thousands of standing dead trees as a result of the pine Beatles?
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:08 PM   #3
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Ah Yes, the Pine Beetles. Not thousands of standing dead trees, but more into the millions. It sure has made a mess of Rocky Mountain National Park. Not long ago the road into the Park was plowed for the season's opener... again.

The firewood industry is well supplied, as well as the log furniture manufacturers IF permitted to use the wood before it rots. It is just a sign of the old forests being renewed. It is just the timing in Colorado is now. Mining did a lot of clear cutting around the mining towns when busy, so that did the same job that Pine Beetles are doing now.

For those who have not been introduced to Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle. If you are camped in an area of Pine Trees and find sawdust on your vehicle and trailer... welcome to Pine Beetle Country. When you use split logs for a wood burning fireplace, they pop like pop corn... but maybe just as tasty with some butter.

Some of the large Forest Fires in the west were occurring when drought was the word. Lately no one is mentioning drought, but everything that comes with excess moisture is in the news every day.

I am hoping that the Continental Divide runoff towards the West Coast will fill all the reservoirs along the way along the Colorado River. Probably never will happen, but all of this has to go where it is needed.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:08 PM   #4
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I'll echo Rays thoughts. The Bighorns of Wyoming are having a very wet spring. Since the first of May I've measured 9.5 inches of rain. Now, I know that doesn't sound like much to many of you, but our average annual precipitation is about 12 inches. We've had flooding in Buffalo too. Not as bad as Lusk, but bad enough. The snowpack in the mountains this year was looking pretty low, but a couple of the storms in May dumped a lot of snow at the higher elevations. The rivers and creeks are running high and fast right now. It's been cool, so the snow isn't melting quickly yet, and we hope that continues so that the runoff season extends into the summer.

Many of the secondary forest roads are very soft and muddy right now. I suspect that the mosquitoes and ticks will be bad soon, and the grass pollen will be bad. However, I expect the wild flowers to explode in the next few weeks, and there should be plenty of forage for livestock and wildlife.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:18 PM   #5
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Your report sounds very desirable to Californians seeking moisture.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:09 PM   #6
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ain't gonna work. You ain't talking me out of spending hurricane season in the mountains.

Mosquitos? Ha. We have mosquitos that need 400 ft. of runway and no-see-ums that show up on radar.
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:47 PM   #7
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We have had more than 12" of rain in the Nebraska Panhandle during the month of May. Our normal years moisture is about 13".
It rained last night and it's pouring rain as I type this.
What a year!


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Old 06-07-2015, 06:12 PM   #8
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I think everyone except California has been getting rain this spring. The day before we left Stillwater one of the congregation's farmer members came out with his 4wd F350 with a bale of hay on the spike to pull us out of the mudhole our camp site had become. We didn't have any rain while driving the first three days, but had rain the first half of the trip from Guernsey to Riverton. We've been in Riverton for a week now, and have had several rains. Our daughter's wedding is indoors, and if she has to skip the outdoor pictures because of rain she won't be totally unhappy.
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:14 PM   #9
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MOAB FLOAT TRIPS down the Colorado River...

Arches National Monument at Moab, Utah with flooded highways and rain. "Up to their Arches in water...". (Just a play in words.)

For those of you wanting to RAFT the COLORADO on a commercial pontoon... this might just be the year from Moab, Utah. Maybe it was twelve years ago we took the seven or eight day float trip and the Colorado River was so calm, some of us would jump into the "red" Colorado River and the flotation device would keep our feet downstream and float along the pontoon. I remember floating past the Dirty Devil River... and it was as dirty as they say. There was so little flow in the Colorado, we had to dock at... Bullfrog. Bullfrog??? Yep. A Bullfrog.

Wow. Twelve inches of rain in the Nebraska panhandle. I guess that would eliminate going to the Badlands north of Crawford, Nebraska. That will wash out a lot of fossils from the White River Formation. Twenty some years ago a big rain hit Crawford, Nebraska and buried their Golf Course and Rodeo Arena in feet of white gumbo clay.

Of course for Trailer Newbies... this is making something out of nothing. When you hear Westerner's complain about... rain, or snow... take notice! I saw that Arizona, New Mexico and southern Utah were getting more rain. You wonder how those stripped shale and sandstone cliffs were formed in these areas? Now is a good time to watch it in action and not having to wait for the next Ice Age to melt down.

Those living in arid California are missing an opportunity to see what happens when you get too much of a good thing. Like Eco Rain Tourists from the Middle East.

OK... a mosquito joke. What's the difference between a lawyer and a mosquito?

A mosquito drops off you, when you die.
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:23 PM   #10
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For Californians with a sense of humor...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMore View Post
Your report sounds very desirable to Californians seeking moisture.
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It use to be known as the Pacific Lake just west of Los Angeles, California, before people began moving into the State.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:41 PM   #11
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Ray; being familiar with Crawford, NE you surely know where Lusk, WY is. The Niobrara River washed half the town away. There was no way in or out for a couple of days.
I planted fall rye last year here on the farm just east of Torrington, WY. It is 6' tall. Never seen any grass over 2' in the 18+ years I have lived here since moving from near Conifer, CO.
It's CRAZY weather here!


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Old 06-07-2015, 10:25 PM   #12
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Well, just like any place else, Colorado has an occasional period of not so great weather. After a winter of low snowfall, a very warm early Spring, a very dry later Spring, and then a very wet period, we are likely back to a normal weather pattern at least on the northern Front Range of Colorado.
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:46 AM   #13
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Having survived the Hayman, Waldo, Black Forest and numerous other fires, I am really enjoying the wet weather. Pikes Peak is my view and the snow is definitely there. Golf is a bit soggy but I have friends still skiing. Don't think anybody (except CA) is exactly dry this year!
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:17 PM   #14
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I get these reports from NOAA monthly, and thought this one would be fitting to this discussion.

Attached is June 2015 version of the Wyoming Water Supply Graphic...FINAL for the season...

----Wyoming Water Supply Synopsis:

…Wyoming May precipitation was around 200percent of average...
...Current water year precipitation is averaging 105 to 115 percent of normal across Wyoming…
…Mountain snowpack across Wyoming increased to 95 to 105 percent of average (above 9000 feet)…
Below normal snowmelt streamflow volumes are still expected across all major basins in Wyoming...
…Wyoming carryover reservoir storages have increased to 115 to 125 percent of average for June…
May precipitation totals across Wyoming were around 200 percent of average. Precipitation numbers varied from nearly 272 percent of average over the Lower Green Drainage (southern Wyoming) to near 120 percent of normal over the Upper Yellowstone Watershed (extreme northwest Wyoming). Current water year (October 2014 – May 2015) precipitation totals across Wyoming increased to 105 to 115 percent of average.
Mountain snowpack (above 9000 feet) across Wyoming increased to 95 to 105 percent of median by early June. Snowpack “water” numbers and/or SWEs below 9000 feet were less than 20 percent of median statewide. SWEs were the highest across the Powder, Wind, Laramie, and Upper Green River Basins ---varying between 115to 180 percent of median. SWEs across the Snake, Shoshone, Bighorn, and Upper Bear Watersheds were the lowest at 0 to 60 percent of median.
Below normal (65 to 75 percent) snowmelt streamflow volumes are still expected across all major basins across Wyoming. Several central and southern basins—the Little Snake, the Green, and the Upper Bear---are forecasted to have wellbelow (< 60%) normal streamflow volumes during the rest of the snowmelt season.
Carryover reservoirs storages across Wyoming continue to be above average (greater than 125 percent) for June.
************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************
Other hydrological information for Wyoming can be found at the NOAA hydrology website:
http://www.weather.gov/riw/local_hydrology
Monthly Wyoming Hydrologic Summary and Graphics:
(updated monthly around the 15th of every month)
http://www.weather.gov/media/riw/hydro/hydro_report.pdf
Wyoming Drought Information Page:
(updated at least once a month)
http://www.weather.gov/riw/drought
Wyoming Graphical Water Supply Outlook:
(updated by the 15th of every month—January-June)
http://www.weather.gov/riw/WyomingWaterSupply
Wyoming Average Precipitation by Basin:
(updated monthly)
http://www.weather.gov/riw/PrecipitationGraphics
Wyoming Spring Snowmelt Runoff Flood Potential Graphic:
(updated by the 25th of the month---January-May)
http://www.weather.gov/riw/FloodPotentialGraphics

Current and Forecast Wyoming Streamflows and/or River Stages:
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=riw
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wy/nwis/rt
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