First of all, sorry for taking a few extra days to get an update out! The last couple days have been very inhospitable when it comes to finding Wi-Fi, or electricity for that matter. I have been in forests in Wyoming since leaving Denver and these places are pretty isolated from any sort of civilization. Without further ado, here’s days 3-5 of my western U.S. adventure.
Day 3 started with me waking in the middle of Denver at Cherry Creek State Park. I spent most of the morning gathering supplies before heading out to more isolated areas in Wyoming. Denver is a beautiful city with a very lively people. I haven’t been in any major city before where there were so many people riding bicycles/walking around the city. Every block no matter where I was in town, people were out and about. Maybe it was all these Denver-ites trying to enjoy the last days of “warm weather” (50’s-60’s) before the winter chill set in. All I know is, Denver is full of parks and things to do, and it seemed the people there took full advantage. Leaving Denver for Wyoming was a little bit of a disappointing drive. I was surrounded by low dark clouds and very little visibility. Rain would come in and out intermittently as I wandered blindly down the highway. The sky above was covered in a gray drab that reminded me of the sky during the winters in the Midwest. I had to forget about seeing any sort of mountains or any sign of the sun that day. After driving through this weather for a majority of the day, I finally made it into the Medicine Bow national forest in south central Wyoming and set up camp. By the time that the sun was almost about to set, the weather finally cleared up long enough to give me an opportunity to snap a few pictures of the campground I was at. The campground itself was very interesting in that it used to be a German and Italian prisoner of war camp from 1942-1946. The prisoners were shipped from abroad into this remote Wyoming mountain range. After having to drive into this mountainous and remote part of the country, I can see why there was only 1 reported escape attempt in the 4 years the camp was operational. The prisoners day to day duties consisted of logging the surrounding forests to support the war effort. Evidently the prisoners were treated very fairly, had opportunity to write home through the Red Cross, and only had to work Monday through Saturday as every Sunday was a day of rest. As I camped there in 2014, I could still see remnants of the foundations of a long forgotten logging camp. Running into this World War 2 prisoner of war camp in the middle of nowhere Wyoming made me realize that there is history and stories in every nook and cranny of this country. I went to sleep that night excited for the future opportunities to find more places and stories that had been long forgotten.
Pictures from Day 3:
Sunset over the campground in the Mountain Bow National Forest
My tent in the Mountain Bow National Forest. In front of my tent was the remnants of a concrete foundation from the old P.O.W. camp
Day 4 started with me waking to the coldest feeling I have felt in possibly my whole life. I felt like I went to sleep in an already chilly Wyoming and woke to find myself in the frigid Arctic. Just unzipping the sleeping bag I was in seemed like an impossible task. Eventually I accepted that it probably wasn’t going to warm up anytime soon, so I put on my big boy pants and took down camp. As I was taking down camp I noticed that despite the incredible cold, the sky and the mountains around me were much prettier than what I saw the day before. This turned out to hold true as the rest of the day unfolded with near perfect weather. My route was from Medicine National forest (South Central Wyoming) to the Great Tetons area of western Wyoming. After driving through the vastness that is Wyoming, I have to say that Wyoming might be one of the most underrated beautiful states in the country. I’m not sure what comes to mind when someone hears the word Wyoming, but to me it brings images of cattle and horses wandering high plains, while being surrounded by beautiful massive mountain ranges (not massively tall, but massive in sheer size and depth). Wyoming is truly a cowboy state and the wandering cattle and horses there provided entertainment for my eyes all day long. Eventually I made it to the Grand Tetons area which might be the most beautiful, most iconic mountain range of the U.S. If massive is a good word to describe the other mountain ranges in Wyoming, staggering might be the best word to describe the Tetons. These mountains look like impossible knife edges sticking straight into the sky. I found camp not to far from these mountains in the Teton National forest. My campsite was near perfect being that it was away from the constant commercialized tourism of Jackson Hole and the Tetons, but close enough to walk 5 minutes and be able to see the mountains off in the distant. It also didn’t help that I was camping 50 feet from my own private beach on a 400+ acre alpine style lake. The view from my campsite is one that I will not forget anytime soon and one that I will definitely return to see again.
Pictures from Day 4:
This is a great example of what Mountain Bow National Forest looks like
This pretty much sums up Wyoming, cattle/horses and mountains
Another picture of wilderness in Wyoming
Getting closer to the Grand Tetons, more rivers in this part of Wyoming
Heading into the mountains that become the Grand Tetons, the rivers began to be filled with rapids
The Grand Tetons
This is home and that makes me incredibly happy, where are you sleeping tonight?
My private beach on the lake I camped by
One thing people should realize: no matter where you go, you will never be alone
Here’s what you do: 1) Go find a wild water source 2) Shut up and wait 3) Nature will find you
Day 5 began with me waking to the same incredible campsite I found the day before. I was so enamored by the beauty surrounding me, that without any hesitation I decided to stay one more night in this area. The rest of my day so far has been spent in Jackson, Wyoming resupplying and trying to find electricity/Wi-Fi to upload my pictures/stories. I am always very excited to get all the pictures I have taken the past few days, as well as the stories of my days, out on the web for everyone to see. Finding both an internet connection and an electrical outlet in the same place in Jackson (population of ~9000) has been a challenge though. So now I find myself charging my electronics at an outlet I found in a parking garage, while writing the stories of my last few days. After I have fully charged all my electronics, I will go to the local McDonald’s and take advantage of their free Wi-Fi to upload my stories and pictures. This is what my daily life has become, and I couldn’t be any happier. Living on the road comes with it’s fair share of challenges, but one thing that I can say for sure is these challenges are different then any other I have faced before. The vast difference in what a “challenge” is in Jackson WY (living out of a car/tent) versus a “challenge” is in San Antonio (living in a house) is something I have come to appreciate. This vast difference is what makes me feel like I am really living every day as a full part of my lifetime of days. Challenges aren’t there to discourage people or to hurt them, challenges exist so that way a person can say today is a new day! I am finding that I am getting very used to this wandering lifestyle and have even excelled where others might not have. Life to me right now is the every day challenges I face, not the challenges of yesterday or tomorrow, just the challenges I face today. I couldn’t be any more excited or happy.
Pictures from Day 5:
Seeing this trail pass through this meadow reminds me of a time when humanity’s only mark on these lands was a simple wagon trail like this one
A different view of the Grand Teton from a road in the national forest
Another view of the Tetons. The meadow below is part of a horse ranch