Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Caching In

Today was our day to go up on Brokenback Mountain to find the cache that another forum member established up there earlier this year. Dana is a Wyoming native and he located a mountain called Brokenback in the Big Horn Mountains and chose that as his site for the cache. I was a bit unsure about our being able to navigate the road up, and when I contacted him about it he was incredibly generous and volunteered to meet Dean and I and drive us up himself! We met in the closest town, Ten Sleep -- he'd told me he drove a white truck and would have a black dog in the back. In the end -- do you know how many white trucks with black dogs in the back there are in the middle of Wyoming? Lots. Oh, but we actually ran into each other very easily, and went into the Crazy Woman Cafe for breakfast.

Ten Sleep is a WONDERFUL little town! Tons of character, and even has a motel or two. I'd figure there was no way such a little town would have a motel and that's why we'd stopped in Worland. After that little misfortune I'd definitely had wished we'd just driven on. Oh well.

We had a great breakfast, and had a great time getting to know Dana. Once again meeting someone from the forum was just like walking in on a conversation started years ago -- only Dana is different in that neither of us have interacted with him much on the forum. We'd exchanged emails, but that was about it. Never the less the familiarity and acceptance was immediately apparent.

Immediately outside of Ten Sleep we ran into a number of picture opportunties. Dana wisely let us lead so that we could stop where ever we wanted.

The road up the mountain really was rougher than our rental car could have handled, though nothing extreme.

The weather wasn't, perhaps, what we would have wished for, but it was exciting to drive up into the clouds. It only spit a few raindrops as we were leaving Ten Sleep - nothing after that. But it was plenty chilly up there at 9300 feet in the wind!

The cache is a typical old ammo box holding items sent by previous visitors. Dana knew the history of everything in there so far, so he gave us a tour. Our contribution was a collection of post cards written from our forum friends and mailed to us prior to having left. We each took turns reading the post cards out loud, which was a surprisingly emotional little ceremony.

We did a little hiking around after putting the cache away, but eventually declared our disappointment that there was no sign of the clouds lifting anytime soon. We were down to about 100 feet visibility, so we started to head back to the truck. I swear, not 30 paces later we looked up and saw the hint of a stand of trees a little way off that we couldn't see before. Then that of the next hill side. And then over there the closest trees weren't even obscured by fog. So we settled in to watch as the clouds rolled by to expose more and more of the surrounding area.

After a little more hiking, and fooling around, we finally headed back down.

Back where we'd left our rental car, we were loath to just pack up and leave. Fortunately the resort right there did still have it's lodge operating, so we went in to have lunch and do some picture trading. Both Dean and I had filled up our memory cards, so we thought it was a good opportunity to do some cleanup. And, it gave us more time to prolong our chat with Dana.

All of a sudden -- it was 3:30!! Reluctantly we said our goodbyes and zoomed onward towards Devil's Tower, which, we made it to just as the sun was setting. We were debating all the way what time it sets here in this area of Wyoming, and how late the monument is open, and all sorts of things to while away that 4 hour drive. Finally, the tower was in sight -- but the road approaches from the south, or south east even, so it was lit from the other side. We pulled up to the entry gate and saw that after hours we were to pay the entry fee at the visitors center. We looked at the visitors center, looked at the setting sun, and looked at each other. "We'll pay on our way out" we said simultaneously. Even so the darn driveway is a very long one, winding nearly all the way around the tower. I could remember a bit from when we were here in '95 about the setup, and was just very fearful that we'd miss everything if we waited to get up there. So we pulled into a turnout, and then ran up the hillside on the other side of the drive. We couldn't have cut it any closer -- even as we found a great vantage point above the trees, we could see the sunset fading. But it wasn't gone yet!

Tomorrow we're going to try and catch Mt. Rushmore very early, and then start the serious drive to Chicago. We estimate it's 16 hours from Rapid City, and we want to arrive by noon on Friday. So I might well not have a chance to post an update.



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