The Big Trip

In 2006, I went with some friends to Denver on a weekend trip to Six Flags and Waterworld. We had a lot of fun, even though the stormy drive there wasn’t as much fun, and the drive back wasn’t fun for those who hadn’t used sunscreen that day at Waterworld. In 2007, some of us began planning for another trip. After much debate, we had decided on Destin, FL, with about six of us going. Then things changed. About a month and a half before the planned trip, some people pulled out, a combination of timing and money. It left us down to three of us: 8601, TC, and myself. After some discussion, I got them interested in going to Wyoming.

I had been through Wyoming before as part of a field geology class, and was aching to go back. After some careful planning, we had a route planned out that would included Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks as the main sites to visit, with Devil’s Tower and the Medicine Bow Mountains as additional stops. Alongside Nebraska and Wyoming, we would have a small detour through South Dakota to save some mileage. It was to be fun.

Since it was the three of us, you can already tell that geocaching was something we would incorporate. Of course, this affects the time it takes to get to these places, but we couldn’t make the trip without including some caching. Since I had been to Wyoming before, I had a route in mind that would allow us to stop and do some sightseeing at places I had been or read about as we travel. Examples included the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway, which had some beautiful sites. The large panoramic of the Grand Teton Mountains at the top of my page was taken at the Togwotee Outlook as we passed through. Visits to Shell Falls, the Bighorn Mountains, the hot springs at Saratoga, and Tree Rock were added in to see various sites around Wyoming.

For geocaching, we began to tire out near the end, but we cleared off 64 caches during that week. We got some interesting stories too. For instance, getting pulled over by the cops outside Lewellen, NE because somebody thought we were robbing the local 4-H Center, even though all we did was sit outside the place as we logged a cache. We had a good laugh on that one because they wanted to talk to the owner of the car, but TC was faking sleeping in the back (though we didn’t realize he was faking it), and because apparently, we were dangerous enough that they sent two vehicles after us.

Not long after that, as I was looking for another cache, I walked away shaking and rambling enough that 8601 looked at me wierd and began to worry. It was after I was safely down the side of the little hill and in the car that he found out what happened. As I was looking for a cache that was supposed to be under a large rock, I moved some brush aside and stared directly at a snake. It was after I quickly jumped back that I heard the RATTLE!! I got out of there quickly, more than happy to sign a DNF on that one.

Or how about the crazy bird that rammed itself into the car as we were driving. And not just once, but one glanced off us later on in the week, this time just enough to temporarily ground the bird but not kill it (I think we only clipped it’s wing as it flew by). Add in that later that summer I had bird ram into my car and we began to wonder if this would become a regular occurance during caching trips.

Or the tourist in Yellowstone that I got into an arguement with because she thought I was wrong to voice my opinions about the various tourists who were trying to get closer and closer to a wild moose in an attempt to get closer photos of each other near the animal. I later found out she didn’t like me calling these people idiots because her husband was down there.

But in the end, it was the sights we saw that really made the trip worthwhile. We logged a virtual cache at a tree that has been growing out of a rock for over 150 years (at least based on recorded information…it could be older than that). We got to see wild bison in Hayden Valley, a grizzly cub wandering around the edge of a forest, deer walk through our campsite one morning, and even visit a cache at a site that a former president picniced at. We rode bikes through Saratoga, finding caches and then taking a swim in their hot springs. We hiked around Devil’s Tower and saw a geyser that goes off every few minutes. We saw Artist’s Point in the early morning and visited a lot of waterfalls. I have some of my favorite photos from the trip loaded onto my Flicker account. Just click on the photos to the right to see them.

If you’ve ever been to Wyoming, you know how beautiful the state can be. If you haven’t been there, I recommend it if you enjoy the outdoors. There are many beautiful places to visit around the world, and Wyoming has several of them. Oh, and don’t forget the caching. They will help guide you to some beautiful views.


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