Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wyoming - Day 1 (and the rest of Nebraska)

We spent most of the morning and afternoon driving over the vast spaces that Nebraska inhabits. It's the longest state that we have driven through as yet. We did enjoy a few of the state owned rest areas, where Buzz ventured out of the car to relax under a tree while we ate sandwiches. As the mile markers drew closer to zero, our excitement of conquering Nebraska was tempered by the fear that the seemingly endless prairie would merely continue into Wyoming.

Admittedly, we have not done too much planning for our trip out west. Although we had a general sense of the route we would take, we planned on using the EVDO Verizon Modem to plan where to go and where to stay. But as I-80 through Nebraska transformed from an information superhighway into a slow trickle of random cellular signals, we had to quickly estimate where we would end up and locate a suitable place to camp.

Shoshone sounded nice, but -possibly for the first time on this trip -we decided to be realistic and aim for the Libby Creek Willow campground in Medicine Bow National Forest. Worst case scenario would be showing up way before sunset and being able to go further into the forest to cover more ground and maybe even try to do some dispersed camping.

We were wrong about the endless prairie. Wyoming exploded into our field of vision as soon as the the sign announced its welcoming attitude. Immediately, mountain ridges rose from the horizon and we quickly passed through Cheyenne, WY. We made a quick stop in the Safeway in Laramie, WY for some salami and beans to add to the rice we had brought along and headed down Snowy Range Road to Medicine Bow. Max had called ahead to find out more information about the campsites available, and on the second call learned that there had been a bear sighting at Libby Creek. As we carry along our own bear bait (Buzz) wherever we go, we decided to try to camp as far away as possible from that particular site. We drove up into the mountain, and around the mountain, until we found an available site in Nash Fork Campground near some other friendly campers who lent us a can opener as we had forgotten to repack ours after the farewell tuna sandwiches we made in Baltimore.

We set up the tent, cooked dinner, nestled into our sleeping bags and proceeded to freeze throughout the night. Wyoming is beautiful and also very, very cold at night in the mountains. No bears came by and we did see some of the brightest stars that we have seen in a while, so a little lesson learned about the importance of layered clothes is not so bad in the larger scheme of things.

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