Finally we’re getting cooler days with autumn here. This Sunday past was about 50F, so I thought it would be the perfect time to get back to Vedauwoo.
It was a bit foggy and wet, so we chose to hike the Turtle Rock Trail instead of slippery rock scrambling.
Ah, that was nice. I needed to get out and hike. Fresh, foggy air. The feel of velvet aspen trunks and jagged feldspar under my fingers instead of fabric. Good change. Now, back to it!
Slick and I took a Friday off together to get out to Vedauwoo again. We were hoping to avoid the weekend crowds, but it was already crowding up when we got out there. We drove around the area for a bit before getting to the rocks.
Baby pronghorns on the prairie. Look to the lower left section for them – the adults are on the right upper section. Click for bigger view – these guys are small. They look like wee, toy versions of the grown pronghorns.
While we were walking around, we came across what appear to be the remains of a building foundation from Sherman. You might recall that some years ago we went searching for such, and found a few rocks that were in the right place. These rocks are also in the right place, but are much more promising. That definitely looks like the remains of a foundation or simple rock wall. Apparently there are also distinct remains of the small roundhouse, but we missed them. The whole thing is on now-private property, so we try to stay close to the roads and be non-intrusive.
The Ames Monument. This was originally next to the railroad, with the town of Sherman a kite-flight away. When the railroad moved south for more gentle land, the town went ghost and the Monument became more of a headstone for the remains of Sherman.
Enough faffing around, on to the rock climbing. We had to search for the least populated area and finally found a good formation with only three campers set up around it. Everyone loves Vedauwoo. We’re going to have to find another, less popular spot to romp around in.
This was a shorter, easier climb. We couldn’t get to the top without gear, so we hung out in a shaded out-cropping. From the side it looked like the mouth of a huge, rock dinosaur-like monster, but I didn’t seem to get any photos that show it as such. There, we picnicked, listened to the wind, and took some photos. The shaded rock areas provided a nourishing spot for lichen.
The sunblock worked well.
I’m playing catch-up for all of June now! Yea!
Right at the beginning of June, Slick and I went up to Vedauwoo, our go-to outdoor recreation area. I wasn’t in the mood for the Turtle Rock Trail, so we wandered around for a while and then climbed up some rocks, this time from the inside of the area my fav trail circles. We didn’t follow a trail, rather, we started off and kept going up or to the side until we couldn’t go up anymore. We ended up sorta between Hassler’s Hat and Glen Dome. To see what that means, click here for a nicely labeled photo of the Turtle Rock Massif areas.
Slick, posing for the camera. You should know that when you’re climbing with Slick, he will be leaping from rock to rock, across deep crevices, all nimbly-pimbly, like a mountain goat on crack. As he reaches a hand back to help you across each vertigo-inspiring chasm, he will encouragingly say to you, “Don’t worry, this is the hardest bit!” with a smile. Mind, he does this around every single corner; since there is no path he can’t know what actually is the hardest bit. I swear at one point, while I clung with all my limbs flat against a severely sloping rock face (trying to channel the spirit of a fly) I wondered if I wasn’t crazy for following him. But, whether I am insane or not, I did follow, I survived, and it was good.
Close to the top, we rested in rock shade and watched the clouds. There are numerous hawks, turkey vultures, and crows that like to ride the thermals here, as you can see by the hawk in the center of this shot.
I had a very fun time scrambling, even though I almost wore through my jeans – and the skin on my hands – getting to the top.
On Sunday, Slick and I reviewed all the things we needed to get done that day. Then we decided to instead go to Vedauwoo for a hike.
We’ve had a spectaular and long autumn in Cheyenne, but up in Vedauwoo the season is already turning towards winter. There were no fall colors left along the trails. Still, it was beautiful, clear and mild – perfect hike weather.
Turtle Rock Trail, passing Holy Saturday formation.
Spending the day out here was much more enjoyable than staying at home and responsibly completing our tasks. You can see why my computer desk still isn’t built yet, right?
I’m almost caught up now, but here is a little more.
Two and a half weeks ago, the weather was fine. Slick and I decided to head up to Vedauwoo, one of my favorite places on this planet, for some light hiking around. When we got there, the gates to the state park area were still locked up. Ooops; it seems the area doesn’t open until May 15th and this was the 11th still. We weren’t the only ones who failed to check – there were over three dozen cars parked around the locked gates, with many people milling about and others hopping the gate to use the trails. We decided we didn’t want that much of a crowd and took off driving around the surrounding area. After a while, we found an open area of land that didn’t have No Trespassing signs and pulled over.
You can see there were still pockets of snow around and the flat area there was filled with cold water which we had to wade through. Wet shoes – good start! We squished around looking at rocks and plants, as we do, and started our way around the large rocks. Almost immediately, we found something unexpected.
The wind caught the feathers well and often and the rushing sound through the trees and over the plains nearly drowned out the sound of the tinkling little bell above. We thought this was a fine place to be remembered.
I quite liked this natural sky frame. Such an orderly pile of rocks. This was a very good place to sit in part shade and part sun. We did take some time to dry out socks (me), have a snack (him), and lay back and watch the clouds drift by.
We had a very nice time scrambling around the deserted area. Vedauwoo is open now, but I quite liked our ‘found’ area. The ground was mostly free of the thick scrubby plants that are interior at Vedauwoo, which always force me to watch every step. Now the weather is about right for all the yard work we have to do at The Arches. There is a lot.
My work schedule has changed to the normal five day a week grind. For my last Friday off, Slick and went up to Vedauwoo to hike that Turtle Rock Trail that we didn’t get to finish last time around. It was early, the skies were partly cloudy and it wasn’t hot yet, so it was excellent.
Where we started the trail. There is a tiny parking lot next right next to this trail head.
Different flowers abound this time through. Last time it was the pale violet and white flowers. Now it is all yellow, reds and pinks.
This view is further along than we saw last time. It was good to pass this point and not feel like I was going to pass out.
A bit of wildlife. Two deer leaped along our side, this one paused for a look before moving along.
At this point in the trail, we encountered our first people. Two women and a gaggle of children scrambled past us. While we waited, I snapped this. I am endlessly fascinated by the many rocks here that look like they’re ready to succumb to gravity and tumble down, but don’t. Yet.
Everything was green. While our urban yards of protected and babied grass are drying up, Vedauwoo is still cooler and wetter.
The second half of the trail (the way we started it) had Indian Paintbrushes blooming up all over the place. It is the Wyoming state flower. This half also had wild roses budding open with a few blooms, while the first half had tightly closed rose buds.
Slick says we should climb this section, from the other side, next time. This is the outer edge of Holy Saturday.
While Slick was investigating a beaver dam, I caught sight of this rabbit. I was focusing while Slick came up the trail and I told him to be quiet, as I was getting a shot of the largest rabbit I’d ever seen! After a second, he replied with, “you must have a really good lens if you think so.” I looked, without my camera, at the rabbit and it was a totally normal sized rabbit. Fun stuff.
Just before we reached the car, I saw this. It seems to be a red mold or fungus on a maple sapling. It is shockingly bright and while I’ve seen it a couple times in this area, I am not familiar with it and have no idea what it is. The internet, as sometimes happens, is not being forthcoming to my questions.
There, another tiny adventure. Lots of plant life, lots of wildlife. The rain held off until we were off the trail and about 100′ away from the car when we got cool sprinkles to complete the hike. The whole thing was very enjoyable and was a good thing to do on my last Friday off.
On Friday of the long weekend, we got up to Vedauwoo (part of the Medicine Bow National Forest) for our first hike of the year. Although, frankly, since I had donated blood that morning it turned into a gentle walk and we didn’t get to do the whole trail. It was a bad coincidence, but if we’d waited for the full weekend we would have to contend with HALF THE POPULATION OF WYOMING coming out for the holiday weekend of nice weather. [The other half of the population of Wyoming was split between hiking in Colorado with friends or non-hikers.] Still, it was beautiful there – Slick and I both love Vedauwoo – and we had a leisurely picnic by one of the streams, which still had chunks of quickly melting ice in the shadows.
The trail, my favorite, is fairly well marked, without significant inclines, has great views the whole way around, and is just over three miles. The whole thing circles the Turtle Rock Masiff (which you will see in a couple of these shots) and you end up in the parking lot area you started in.
Some of the trail is over rocks, like this.
All the flowers were starting to come up along the trail.
Weathering granite boulders are everywhere. The area is geologically fascinating.
Good views from the whole trail. There are many spots to stop, detour, picnic or hangout along the way. Every turn seems to have a big, smooth rock, half in shade, half in sun, so that you may relax as you prefer.
I love this trail. I recommend it to anyone wanting to start out with hiking or a first timer to Vedauwoo. It is an easy trail, with no serious rough spots, no climbing needed. All you need is a water bottle and hiking shoes. Plus, if you throw a camera and a couple sandwiches in a bag, it makes for a good picnic trail, too.
Stay tuned for a workshop update later today.
Over the past weekend, we went hiking in Vedauwoo again.
This visit we gave ourselves more time and went back to the Turtle Rock Trail again. The weather was even better than last time.
The critters were out frolicing and food gathering all over.
The flowers were just as blooming as before. We had to avoid knocking over a number of laden bees dragging themselves off of the flowers.
We went around the whole trail this time. It is a 2.9 mile trail, but we ended up going further since I parked in an off spot and we had to get back to it. Great hiking; some ups and downs, some scrambling, but manageable by most, I think.
Chipmunks were especially bouncy and public.
We had a good time. Every couple minutes you are forced to stop because each turn brings another amazing view. This is going to become a repeat location for us. Maybe we’ll even get around to packing a bit of picnic or something to grill after a hike. We’ll work our way up to the camping bit.
I have to get up in a few hours to leave for the week’s work travel. I’m even going to be in the air before the pancake breakfast starts down at Frontier Days. Way too early, but at least I’m flying instead of driving while the sun comes up.
On Sunday, we went hiking in Vedauwoo. We’re big fans of the area (like many Cheyenne and Laramie residents) and we wanted to get out of the house and stretch our legs, so this was perfect. The drive is less than 40 minutes and the area is free, although they do have an honor donation box for camping and parking fees. I’m okay with $3 for nice roads, picnic benches, grills, water spigots and toilet areas. We started off on the easy Turtle Rock trail.
We took it easy and explored a while. Figured that since we have hiking boots, we may as well use them. We got some rain after about ten minutes of walking, but it was short-lived.
This day, we only did about a mile or so. Easy walking, almost no serious inclines. We’ll slowly go further and steeper on each visit until we’re ready to move into actual rock climbing. The whole area is beautiful and we love it, but next time we’re bringing bug spray with us instead of just putting some on at home. Slick came home with a handful of mosquito bites from our visit. Plus, we’ll be ready to picnic while we’re there. It is lovely.