We're forced onto the interstate this morning for a few miles near Caspar before picking up 20/26 west, destintion Boysen State Park on the Boysen Reservoir, at 5000-foot elevation still merely the foothills of the massive 12,000-13,000-foot peaks just a bit west in Yellowstone and the Tetons.
Art chooses Poison Creek Campground, one of many on this water, because he likes the name. It's blazing hot and barren. Here's Art at the check-in kiosk, wondering where the hell he is and if this is where we want to be. It's 3 pm, though, and after years of camping you just sometimes know when it's too late in the day to move to the next possible destination.
(Hey honey! Where are we?)
We drive the rough road and find a fire ring and picnic table near a toilet house--the only reason we even know this is a campsite. Most important: a tree providing some shade.
Right where Art first pulled in is a perfect spot on the water, but there is no level ground here. Want to see how we rectify that? We travel with beveled pieces of wood to lift the front or rear--or sides--of the truck to level it out.
Today we need even more boost on the right-hand side, so Art hauls over a couple of giant rocks and lines them up behind the wood, which we're using here as a ramp up the rocks. (Our old fridge needs to be level to function well too.)
Once we're positioned, he backs the truck up slowly until we're king of the mountain. There: nice and level (well, level enough.)
We take a little walk to look for firewood (it will get chilly tonight in this desert-like environment) and we drink a lot of water. We need hydrating. The firewood here is, oddly, driftwood, lighter than most woods. Wonder how it will burn.
At makes a picture of sandstone:
I found a geode! The dinosaur museum isn't far north of here. Wonder if we'll find some dino bones.
Just adding here that a couple of our faithful readers are trying to make us feel guilty about not visiting Iowa's Grotto of the Redemption, whose link they kindly provided, along with this message:
We have done our research and discovered that you and Art just whizzed by what has been described (by possible members of nearby mental institutions on day passes) as the 8th wonder of the world. By the way, there is also a grotto of the redemption campground! Note that Airstream campers visited the grotto.
Thanks for that, W&R. That'll teach us to bypass religious road highlights.
Back to Poison Creek Camground: once we're set up, the sun drops a bit and the breeze picks up. It's just lovely. Unusual terrian for us Druids, but most striking and, best of all, perfecty quiet and isolated.
What we're reading: thanks KK (you know you can click any pic to enlarge, right?).
Collectors for our solar reading lights, collecting. We also have a bank of three large solar panels permanently attached to the top of the Avion camper. These help keep our four camper batteries charged up, allowing us to park in off-the-grid places, like this one, with no electrical plug-ins.
Carrot ginger coconut milk soup, made in Chicago and now well defrosted, with rooftop bean and tomato salad. It's cooling off in the setting sun. Art looks heat-stroked.
This is a hauntingly beautiful spot in the gloaming. It will take a couple days before you read about our night at Jenny Lake Lodge in the Tetons, but I'm telling you right now: it couldn't compare to this campsite.
(And yeah, I know it's tacky, but this location cost 5% of what the lodge did, plus OK there's also this: dress for dinner? As in a jacket for Art? God only knows what that would mean for Pippi Longstocking, who forgot to bring her nonexistent dress-up clothes).
Art built a most excellent firewall to reflect the heat and contain the sparks in the high wind. Also, a piece of hollow log to cover the kindling so it will start up (he's such an Eagle Scout show-off).
It turns out to have a blast-furnace effect. A roaring fire in 15 seconds! The driftwood burns slow and even. We could have cooked on this fire once it settled.
Next morning, a beautiful new light...