LC and I had never come this way before.
In reality we were only 30 minutes drive from the house at this point, and as we moved through the almost completely flat basin and began to climb steeply into high hills, I was amazed that I had no idea that this was all here.
"All" is a relative word on BLM land in Wyoming.
All the views of the Big Horn Mountains. All the endless square miles of rocks and sand in varying shades of orange and brown. All the buttes and hills and valleys and winding trails. All the emptiness and silence that anyone could ever ask for.
All the promise of surprise, and of the expected and unexpected that always comes with a trip onto BLM land.
I liked it.
Not in the same way that I like rivers and lakes and pine tree filled mountains.
But I liked it anyway.
After climbing steadily for 15 minutes on a winding double track dirt road, LC pulled the truck off the road as we finally crested the top, turned right and drove a short way along a rutted dirt trail before parking.
Jamie and I eagerly climbed out of the truck and instantly I knew that this would be a quick stop.
The wind was blowing wildly, and it was absolutely freezing.
Handing the mutt over to LC, I dug my camera out of the side pocket of my pack and walked away from the pair, wanting to enjoy scenery alone.
God it was cold..............
The sight of them was totally unexpected and for a moment I looked at them stunned.
A long, very long, seemingly endless long, line of cows.
All standing in a straight line along the crest of the hill on the opposite side of the dirt road from where we had parked.
If you click on the picture it will enlarge.............
I tried to take some zoomed-in pictures of them, but my little camera could not handle the distance.
After taking a handful of fuzzy pictures of a line of cattle, I gave up on the task and turned my attention back to the valley below.
Not one tree.
Hills and valley and a landscape that looks completely barren and desolate from a distance, but I know from many walks and bike rides that it is not...............
It is rare to wander on BLM land and not find bones, and we found them on this day as well............
Within only a few minutes I had had enough of being battered by the wind.
It angrily whipped around my head, and my hands were red and freezing cold.
Quickly I snapped a few other pictures and then turned in search of my dog and my Mountain Boy..............
I promised LC that I would take some pictures of his truck............
As we drove further along the road we found a huge herd of cattle.
With the snow capped wall that is the Big Horn Mountains in the background, I snapped these pictures of hundreds and hundreds of cows spread out over the course of the next couple of miles............
At the top of one more hill we stopped the truck in the middle of the empty road and looked down over this new valley.
It was greener and we could see a couple of homes in the distance. Miles away.
Down there was civilization. Likely Burlington but I don't know for certain because this is where we turned around and drove back the way we had come.
We had wandered on BLM land for over a hour and were a long way from the Greybull Highway that led towards home.
It was a beautiful and quiet drive............
Heart Mountain in the far distance.
Visible as it always is, no matter where you wander in this area...............
Miles and miles of cows..............
I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own................Chaim Potok, The Chosen