Over the mountain and through the woods

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I had to check out the Hobo Pool, especially since on my trip to Pawley’s Island I had been called a hobo. The hobo pool was, in fact, pretty darned hot. No one was in it, and it had some algae growing in it.

There were a handful of people hanging out in the stream where the hobo pool drains. I decided to join them, somewhat uncertain what the etiquette is for sitting in a stream with strangers. As it turned out, they were all one group. They didn’t seem offended at my presence. I did manage to chat them up a bit. There were sandbags arranged to manage the flow of water from the stream and that from the hobo pool. One of the kids had just made an adjustment to make the temp more pleasurable, which seemed just right to me. There was also another little hot spring on the other side of the stream. I went and checked it out too. It was the first hot spring that I’d seen that was natural. All the rest thus far had been man-made pools that had the hot mineral water piped in.

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After I’d enjoyed the hot waters, I headed for Cheyenne via Medicine Bow, a pass that was just over 10,000 feet.

It was insanely beautiful. You know all of those snow-peaked mountains that I’ve been photographing and longing to see close-up? This was one of them.

I couldn’t believe it. There was actually snow on the ground. I had to stop. I decided not to ford the stream to be able to touch the snow. Oh well, at least I got to see it.

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I found a pull-off near some snow and went a little snow man. It was really more slush than snow, not ideal for constructing balls, but I did it anyway.

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Can’t see the snow man? It’s right in the middle of that picture. Here’s a close-up.

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Look at these green things growing through the snow.

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A while later I stopped again where there was a little pond of freshly-melted snow.

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I couldn’t find anyone to take a picture of me and I have been unable to figure out how to use the auto timer on my Canon EOS 40D. I even read the manual. I couldn’t find it anywhere. [Editor’s note: I just googled. Now I know how.]

Near what I thought was the top was a cliff up above that had a bunch of snow on it. I parked Walden, determined to make my way up to that snow, in such a manner that I would not be buried in it.

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Here was the climb.

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I climbed up to the top of the little bluff and took some pictures.

I made it up to the top.

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Here was the view from there.

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I found a black plastic gas can up near to top. I inferred that it had been lost in the winter by someone on a snowmobile. It seemed responsible to get it out of the forest. I was proud of my little ascent. I made my way back down, now carrying the big camera and a gallon of gas.

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I was never going to make Cheyenne. Every quarter mile I had to stop again for some incredible vista. I saw a sign that said something about three trail heads. “Whatever,” I thought, “it can’t be as cool as climbing that hill” and drove on past. Off to my left was a several acre mountain lake under a cliff. I had to make a u-turn. And on it went. http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MAJpSUg1xMc/Tjx1k08nIFI/AAAAAAAABwk/mnWrwKGXle0/s720/Uh%25252C%252520Yeah.%252520I%252520think%252520I%252527d%252520better%252520turn%252520around..jpg

The water was very cold on my tootsies.

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And then I had to stop for another vista. This one was cool because there was a big snow field where people were throwing snowballs.

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And then I had to stop again for a moose sighting.

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You can see a few more of these pictures here.

When I arrived at the state park that I thought I might stay in, it was about ten miles further out of Cheyenne than Google had lead me to believe. I drove on, hoping that there was another entrance in the place where Google thought, but that wasn’t the case.

Next thing I knew I was at the park-and-ride lot for Cheyenne Field Days. I paid my ten bucks, got my hand stamped and got on the bus. I arrived at the fair grounds and it was pretty much the huge fair you might expect, though a bit bigger. There was tons of carnival food, blooming onions, and those big spirals of potato chips.

I went and checked out the scene at the Buckin’A Saloon, missing happy hour by only a few minutes. I got a beer, heard the end of the band’s set, and some prodigiously bad karaoke. Though I had gotten better at talking to people at brewpubs, I had no skills here in a cowboy saloon.

I headed out and got a paper bowl of little pieces of sirloin and some potatoes. I squeezed into a table where I was able to actually interact with some humans who were locals. I told them that I was looking for a place to park for the night and they suggested Little America, a large hotel.

I hung out at the Buckin’A a bit more and decided to get back on the bus. Back at Walden, I had Google direct me to Little America. I found a place in a back parking lot and went inside to see what there was to see. It’s a huge conference hotel with lots of conference rooms that were, of course, empty at 9PM on a week night.

I managed to find my way to a the bar and got some meat nachos. I was starving.

I listened to some cowboys talk, but didn’t actually communicate with them. After the nachos were gone, I snuck out to Walden for the night.

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