July 3, 2009
We were up and out the door by 8:30 AM because they close the 26-mile Popo Agie Loop Road for repairs at 10AM. We were on the road (all dirt) for about twenty minutes enjoying the views when we were stopped by a worker and waited another twenty minutes before we could proceed. Lots of construction equipment was passing us by then a small golf cart leading people through from the other end. Then it was our turn and we were able to enjoy the views from high above the canyon.
We stopped to take a hike up to the Blue Ridge Fire Lookout a seemingly easy one mile round trip hike. It turned out to be a moderate hike uphill with obvious signs that a bear had been in the area with fresh claw marks on some trees. In fact another camper told us he saw a large bear up at the Lookout the previous morning. And we had no bear spray but be assured we were taking all necessary precautions as taught to us by the rangers.
We were at 9,600 feet so the air was a little thinner then we’re used to and we hiked up another 200 feet-at least. Then we got to the Lookout. Ron and Jewel were handling the hike and height just fine but I was having some trouble with the altitude. The hike and walking was good but I was a little short of breath. The top of the Lookout was another 200 feet of stairs. I was going to make it to the top if it killed me, I did, and it almost did, but the views were spectacular and well worth the effort.
On the way back we stopped at a sign near a valley that had a post that had obviously been decimated by a bear. OOPS – we headed out quickly. Jewel was getting a little nervous, which made us nervous so we made sure we made a lot of noise as taught.
We proceeded on our tour and the dirt road that was fairly passable became almost impossible to drive through . What amazed us both is that people were driving their motorhomes up there.
We stopped for lunch on Louis Lake near a boat launch. To get to the lake we were axle deep in mud. Ron finally got to do some off road driving with the Jeep. The views were beautiful but it was raining lightly. We didn’t let that stop us and we sat and ate lunch in the rain by the lake.
Another great stop was at the Wind River vista with the snow covered mountain peak in the distance and Frye Lake below. To make it even more spectacular was the heavy storm clouds rolling over the peak looking like a slow moving avalanche.
As we continued our tour we came upon Red Canyon another spectacular vista. The red canyon walls are Chungwater sandstone and this is considered one of the most scenic and panoramic views in Wyoming. The topography in this part of the country is so diverse it is hard to describe. It changes at every turn and because of the nature of the topography geologist from around the world have teams here deciphering the age and what each layer of sediment means to life as we know it. It truly a spectacular place.
We went back to the MH for a rest then decided we should take the three-mile round trip hike to the Popo Agie Waterfalls. We were told the falls were not to be missed so off we went. Did I mention this was a one and one-half mile uphill hike to the falls. Well as beautiful as the views were as we hiked up it did not make up for the rugged terrain on the pathways. We dodged rocks, mud, horse manure and other small animal droppings.. About half-way up it started to thunder, lightening and rain – very hard. We were soaked to the skin and despite grumbling from me all three of us made it to the top and it was well worth the struggle. The falls were amazing and we sat and enjoyed the views from over 8000 feet. The walk back down was less of a problem altho ugh it did rain on us again. We both agreed that it had to be more then a three-mile round trip. It felt more like six miles but we did the entire trip in two hours, so not too bad for old folks. Jewel had a blast and looked like a drowned rat after the rain.
When we arrived back at the MH I rinsed the mud off Jewel and she headed for bed. I guess we wore her out. We were pretty tired from our hectic day so hit the sack around nine. Tomorrow it’s off to the Teton’s.