Bighorn National Forest

I headed out of the Wild Woman RV Park at about noon. Since I had power charging my battery and WIFI, I made the most of it. I was going to go up through Bighorn National Forest and see this Medicine Wheel, a bunch of rocks in a circle. It sounded pretty cool. The signs approaching Highway 16, however, said that it was the easiest way to get to Yellowstone. I stopped there and talked to a woman at the Buffalo visitor center, in Buffalo, Wyoming. She said that there was now a fence around the big rocks, which sounded pretty disappointing to me. She said that it was disappointing to her. I decided to take the easier route that still goes through the Bighorn National Forest and maybe head down to Thermopolis, a town that, if you couldn’t guess, has hot springs.

A mile or so later, I passed a ranger station that had buildings owned both by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Forest Service. The BLM place was closer, so I went in and told them I was driving through and was interested in parking Walden and wanted a map or whatever. The woman said that most of what I was going through was national forest and not their jurisdiction. I said that I was interested in BLM land and rules in general and she gave me a pamphlet with Frequently Asked Questions about BLM lands. I did manage to get her to give me a map of the BLM land past the National Forest.

I then headed on over to the Forest Service place, asked the same question and got some pretty good advice (since I was going first through the forest, I guess. I almost paid $10 for another map, but she came up with a good-enough 11×17 color map of the forest that she was able to give me.

I headed on up the mountain, and somewhere near the top, I think, pulled off the main road onto a dirt forest road. After poking up and down a few different roads and seeing lots of campers, mostly big “5th wheel” rigs, came up on a little clearing at the top of a little rise that has a view down to the fields below and snow-covered mountains in the distance.

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I biked around to check out some other places people were camping. There were lots of 5th wheels with no people in sight. This seemed rather odd. I saw a moose. And some cattle. As is not uncommon, there were a bunch of cattle grazing on this national forest land.

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A hundred yards from my campsite a couple came to one of the unattended fifth wheels. I went and talked to them for a while. This forest is less about half an hour from a decent sized town, so lots of folks park their rigs there in the summer. The rule is that you can stay only two weeks in one spot and then have to move somewhere at least five miles away. I questioned whether this really gets enforced and they said “yes.” They knew the ranger by name.

There were some good rainstorms in the distance that night. I didn’t get the big rainstorm that I wanted, but it was a good night.

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You can see more Bighorn National Forest Pictures if you want.

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