Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thelma and Louise

A week or so ago we drove towards Greybull and twenty miles outside of Cody, pulled off the highway and went in search of the wild mustangs.
The blog about our experience with the horses is in my previous entry.
After spending a very long time enjoying the sight, and motion, and rhythm of these free roaming animals, LC and I debated for a few minutes what we should do next.  Head towards the house or continue driving further to see what we would see.
There really wasn't any decision to be made.  It was a beautiful, sunny, warm but not too hot day, and we had come out to BLM early.
We had a lot of day left and no particular plans in mind other than exploring further on BLM land close to McCullough Peaks.
After spending a long time taking pictures and quietly watching the horses, we pulled the truck back onto the gravel road a short way, and then turned right onto a straight-up rutted out dirt road, heading further east to a place we had found a second horse herd late last summer.
We didn't find them.
A look south from that dirt road, looking towards the endless mountain range that contains Carter Mountain.
Just as Heart Mountain dominates the landscape around Cody, Carter dominates down the Southfork.
We were more than sixty miles from Carter and yet there it stood - towering over the landscape, demanding to be noticed, silently calling to me as it always does................
And looking back towards Cody.................
Heading back the way we had come, we eventually picked up the gravel road again.
We knew from previous explorations that if we stayed on this road we would eventually make our way to the outskirts of Powell.
Still looking for more horses, and after only traveling a couple of slow miles, the terrain began to change.
We had moved from the flat, sage brush filled, butte surrounded and mountain surrounded land where the wild horses quietly roam, to what can only be described as a moonscape.
Endless shades of beige.  Endless rock.  Endless sand.  A few antelope and the ever-present sage, but not much else...................
The seemingly endless wall that is the Big Horn Mountains, sixty miles to the east..................
Tourists don't visit the badlands.
Actually - come to think of it, I don't believe I have EVER seen another person in this section of BLM..............
Fifteen minutes after we had left the wild horses, LC and I found ourselves at this place.
The first time we came here was when we were first in Wyoming over two years ago, and we had done exactly the same thing on that day that we had done on this day.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the horses, and then continued driving further on the gravel road (at that time) not knowing what we would find up ahead.
We stopped the truck in the middle of the road when we got to this place, because we literally could not see what was on the other side of the hill.
Did the road continue?  Or would we be playing the cheap-seat version of the movie characters Thelma and Louise?
That sounds almost ludicrous from the perspective of someone who isn't from Wyoming.  
Surely if the road dead ended or dropped into nothingness there would be a sign telling us that, right?
We spent an entire day a couple of summers ago exploring in the truck on the top of Rattlesnake Mountain, and late in the day came to a road that simply dropped into nothing.
No signs.  No warning.  Nothing.  Just up and down dirt road across the vast length and width of a mountain top and road and big air.
Thankfully we took the time to stop the truck, climb out, and walk to the edge to see what was on the other side, before just continuing with our drive.
And so it went the first time we came to this place near McCullough Peaks.
This time we found that the road did in fact continue.
Leaving the truck on that day - and leaving the truck on this day - in the middle of the road, we climbed out and wandered in different directions, both of us exploring................
Welcome to the moon.................
Abundant wild flowers, found in clumps all over BLM land..........
And seemingly, feelingly, endless dirt road...................
Click on any of the pictures and it will pull up a slide show of enlarged pictures.
LC standing at the edge of a cliff.
Thelma?  Or Louise?
Hard to say because our personalities are so similar.
I watched my guy - that I think I have known for over six years now - and smiled to myself as I watched him.
Two churning personalities who somehow seem to bring calm to each other.................
When we first left the wild horses we passed a couple of small herds of antelope grazing and sitting in the sun.
I almost missed this guy because we had not seen any signs of life at all for almost an hour.
One lone and very huge bull, sitting on the side of a small rise and blending quietly with the sage bushes..............
The very first time we came this way two years ago, we had spent so much time on dry and desert-like BLM and then driven through the badlands, that unexpectedly finding this very large pool of water was astonishing.
The last thing we had expected.
That summer two years ago had been very hot and there had not been any rain at all in a couple of months, which made this pond even more unexpected.
We had an unusual amount of rain during the spring this year, and have had an unusual number of brief periods of rain this summer, and so we expected this pond to be full.
It was bone dry.  
How could that be?  With all the rain we've had, how could that be?
We had no idea, and as we parked the truck and climbed out, we both wandered towards the parched and cracked land, completely mystified................
Close to the outskirts of Powell, and close to the end of BLM land, we finally began to see signs of life again.
Cowboys rounding up a handful of calves that had wandered away from the herd................
We had been gone for hours and had loved every moment of our trip to BLM.
We had seen wild mustangs, antelope, endless mountains, endless dirt road, the moonscape of the Badlands, wild flowers, a few trees, cows and bulls and cowboys.
Such a very good trip.
As we left BLM land and drove down the dirt road that we knew led to the paved road to Powell, I asked LC to stop the truck one last time.
The bright green of the field (after spending hours in a world of brown and beige) was beautiful and compelling, and just as I climbed out of the truck to snap a picture of the green and blue world we had returned to, saw the familiar head and ears of a deer in the field.
Hundreds?  Thousands?  More times that I could ever count, we have seen the heads and ears of individuals and herds of deer as they quietly sat in fields all over the Big Horn Basin.
I watched him for a moment.  Watched him watching me, and smiled at the sight of this sweet and wary animal.
And then watched in stunned amazement as he began to walk through the field.
He wasn't sitting at all.
The grass in the field was so high that all I could see was his head.  
I had never seen that here before...................

No comments:

Post a Comment