Monday, August 01, 2016

Cooler Altitudes

It has been hot, really hot for Colorado and Wyoming, for the past two or three weeks. After getting settled at Peter D's RV in Sheridan we decided it was time to go somewhere cooler. That means going up, and up, and up.

Yesterday we drove up into the Big Horn Mountains west of Sheridan. We have been in this area before and we knew there was good hiking at those higher altitudes. We drove west on highway 14 as it wound it's way up into the mountains. And it really is a winding road. Look at the view of the road on our GPS.

The scenery was great as we went from 3800 ft at our campground to 8600 ft where we parked the truck.

We drove until we reached the Black Mountain Road. We decided to check out the Black Mountain Fire Lookout so we parked at the beginning of Forest Road 222, hiked one mile to the trailhead, then headed up the trail.  The road wasn't too steep, though it was rocky.

There were green meadows along the way.

It was steeper and even rockier on the trail. We finally reached a place where we could see the fire lookout station. (It is on the top of the rocks to the left of the dead branches.)

By then, we had reached an elevation of 9100 ft. We have been below 7000 ft for over a year so we settled on this view of the lookout, rather than climb another 400 ft and still have the steps to the lookout to go.

We talked to a couple coming down from the lookout. They said it was very hazy and smokey at the top and there wasn't much of a view. We could confirm that by looking out from the trail.

The hike back down was also hard. See how tired I was?

Probably thanks, in part, to the smoke from wildfires, we had a pretty sunset last night.

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