Days 44-45: Colorado to Wyoming to Idaho

Hello from beautiful Idaho Falls! So after spending some time enjoying the mountains of Colorado, I decided it was time to move on to somewhere new. It just so happens that right now my family in Idaho is in the process of building a custom home for themselves, so I figured now would be a great time to come visit and check something new out. Back in September when I hit the road, I knew I wanted to see many new wonders of nature; but I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to see so much of the wonder of humanity. My journey has taken me to not only beautiful places, but across some beautiful people as well. The people I meet along the road all walk different ways of lives. From an outdoors-man who is more comfortable in a thick forest than a thick corporate jungle, to an older recently divorced gentleman trying to find his way back through life; the people and stories I get to meet along the road define my adventures just as much as the nature around me. Being able to see all these different outlets of humanity is something I’ve enjoyed almost as much as the changing nature. There’s just so much out there in this world to see, whether it be natural or a product of humanity. So for the next week, I’ll be exploring a few different areas in Idaho as well as spending some quality time with my family here. Idaho is another one of the many underrated states as far as natural beauty goes, and I hope to capture some of what makes this state so special over the next week. Stay tuned for updates on the blog, as I explore new areas that very few people would make a trip to come see.

-Warren

Pictures from Days 44-45:

There's something about the Grand Tetons that keeps calling me back. Third time I've been fortunate enough to see these goliaths in person.

There’s something about the Grand Tetons that keeps calling me back. Third time I’ve been fortunate enough to see these goliaths in person.

Dare to explore the road less traveled. You'll never know what lies at the end until you reach the end.

Dare to explore the road less traveled. You’ll never know what lies at the end until you reach the end.

Looking back at the Colorado Rockies from the Wyoming/CO state line.

Looking back at the Colorado Rockies from the Wyoming/CO state line.

You don't need an over the top 4x4 brand new vehicle to see this country's beautiful places. You just need desire and a plan.

You don’t need an over the top 4×4 brand new vehicle to see this country’s beautiful places. You just need desire and a plan.

More of the Rockies of Colorado.

More of the Rockies of Colorado.

Brooks Lake WY.

Brooks Lake WY.

Incredible rock formations and mountains around the greater Yellowstone area.

Incredible rock formations and mountains around the greater Yellowstone area.

Grand Teton, WY.

Grand Teton, WY.

A closer view of Grand Teton. Such an impressive mountain range.

A closer view of Grand Teton. Such an impressive mountain range.

After seeing many new mountain ranges in the U.S., the Tetons still top my list.

After seeing many new mountain ranges in the U.S., the Tetons still top my list.

Days 41-43: Colorado

Hello from Northern Colorado! I’ve spent the last few days climbing mountain passes and circumventing mountain ranges, making my way from southern CO all the way through the state to the northern reaches. Over the last few days I’ve gotten to know these Rocky Mountains pretty well, and I’ve realized there is so much more I have to see here. These particular mountains here in CO are different than any other ranges I’ve seen so far across the western U.S. The mountain ranges here are full of tall (14,000+ ft) peaks, but just driving by these ranges you’d miss seeing half those peaks. The reason for that is the tallest mountains here are sometimes hidden and engulfed by slightly smaller mountains as well as an intricate network of raging rivers and deep canyons. I feel like to see the true natural beauty of Colorado, you would need to break out the backpack. There just seems to be a whole different world up in these high mountain ranges that no car or permanent mark of civilization can reach. The ruggedness of this state is something I didn’t expect before coming here; but looking back, how could there be 53 different 14,000 feet peaks without insane rivers, smaller ranges, and deep canyons coming down from them? This state is full of natural wonders, and is still forming new ones through the constant power of water and ice. From the highest mountains in the lower 48, to 1000 foot deep canyons, to the headwaters of some of this country’s major rivers; Colorado has got it all it seems.

-Warren

P.S.: New website, http://www.warrenhylton.com! I’ve got this blog, my photo gallery, and soon a print store all on that website; so feel free to give it a look.

Pictures from Days 41-43:

In a narrow valley surrounded by ice covered mountains, lays the small town of Ophir. What an incredible place to call home.

In a narrow valley surrounded by ice covered mountains, lays the small town of Ophir. What an incredible place to call home.

Colorado is a geologist's dream come true.

Colorado is a geologist’s dream come true.

The pass coming out of Telluride CO going over into the next valley where Ophir is located.

The pass coming out of Telluride CO going over into the next valley where Ophir is located.

One view of the Rockies.

One view of the Rockies.

This is what 2 million years of water erosion will do. Black Canyon National Park

This is what 2 million years of water erosion will do. Black Canyon National Park

Another view of Black Rock Canyon National Park.

Another view of Black Rock Canyon National Park.

This is where I camped one night.  A meadow in the middle of Gunnison National Forest.

This is where I camped one night. A meadow in the middle of Gunnison National Forest.

Tall mountains surrounded by smaller mountains.

Tall mountains surrounded by smaller mountains.

Sunset over CO. Rocky Mountain National Park in the back right.

Sunset over CO. Rocky Mountain National Park in the back right.

Sunrise at 6:30 AM. Can't think of a better way to start the day.

Sunrise at 6:30 AM. Can’t think of a better way to start the day.

Lake Granby is a huge lake surrounded by mountains. Beautiful place.

Lake Granby is a huge lake surrounded by mountains. Beautiful place.

Another shot of the lake with some of the surrounding mountains.

Another shot of the lake with some of the surrounding mountains.

The whole lake was surrounded with massive mountains like this.

The whole lake was surrounded with massive mountains like this.

A meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park.

A meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Mt. Bowen. The area surrounded this mountain is protected wilderness, meaning no roads or signs of humanity.

Mt. Bowen. The area surrounded this mountain is protected wilderness, meaning no roads or signs of humanity.

A partially frozen creek in Rocky Mountain National Park.

A partially frozen creek in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

Days 35-40: Washington to Texas to Colorado

Hello my loyal readers! I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve published any posts, but my last 3 weeks have been anything but normal for me. I had to leave the traveling life for just a few weeks, and take a little detour down to San Antonio to attend to a close family member’s health issues. I basically got a call saying it was a good time to come home, and left right away for a 33 hour drive back to Texas. After two weeks of being around family and living back in San Antonio, I was chomping at the bit to get back out on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy I went home to see my family when I did. But after seeing so many incredible things along the road, things I would NEVER see in San Antonio; I decided it was time enough to head back out. So first stop of course for me had to be some insane snow covered mountains, the Colorado Rockies. I was fortunate to pass through Colorado on the very beginning of my trip, and got a chance at that point to see these incredible mountains. Now that it is November, snow and ice are definitely becoming a part of daily life in Colorado. Yesterday I got to travel over a mountain pass during an active snowstorm. For 17 miles I grinded my teeth, death gripped my steering wheel, and sat at the very edge of my seat as my little Focus slowly made it up and down over the mountainous pass. My little car made it though and brought a new meaning to the saying, slow and steady wins the race. My stops so far in Colorado have been a few national forests, a few state parks, and a few national parks. Yesterday was cool in that I got to see Pueblo cliff dwellings in the Mesa Verde National Park. I’ve always known about this cliff dwellings and even have had a chance to see something similar in Texas, but seeing these fortresses high in the mesas truly astounded me. In just the national park’s boundaries there were between 600-700 cliff dwelling structures. The whole mesa and canyons area was like an ancient community of hundreds of small (and sometimes very large) cliff dwelling villages making up a population of Pueblo Indians that would’ve numbered 20,000 plus. The other extremely interesting part is that these cliff dwellings were all built around 1100-1200 AD, well before any North American exploration. These are the native people to this North American landmass and seeing how they used to not only live, but thrive here almost a thousand years ago; was truly something remarkable. So without further ado, please enjoy some of my latest pictures. The first few were from Washington state right before I left, and the rest are from my time here in Colorado so far.

-Warren

P.S.: I got a new website! Check it out at http://www.warrenhylton.com to see my current gallery and this blog. Also sometime very soon, I will be opening my first online store for some of my prints on the same website!

Pictures from Days 35-40:

Where the Pacific meets Washington state.

Where the Pacific meets Washington state.

Unlike any other beaches I've ever seen before.

Unlike any other beaches I’ve ever seen before.

Another view of the Pacific coast beaches of Washington.

Another view of the Pacific coast beaches of Washington.

Sunset over Utah on the drive back to Texas.

Sunset over Utah on the drive back to Texas.

Mountain Creek in Colorado. Definitely plenty of snow and ice at night in this area.

Mountain Creek in Colorado. Definitely plenty of snow and ice at night in this area.

Rushing water in the Colorado Rockies.

Rushing water in the Colorado Rockies.

The creek bed was covered in an orange color showing some sort of mineral in the water.

The creek bed was covered in an orange color showing some sort of mineral in the water.

This creek winds throughout the mountains and around different trees.

This creek winds throughout the mountains and around different trees.

Beautiful forests in Colorado.

Beautiful forests in Colorado.

There's something special about these mountains out here in Colorado.

There’s something special about these mountains out here in Colorado.

Navajo Lake state park in CO. This lake goes from CO down south into New Mexico.

Navajo Lake state park in CO. This lake goes from CO down south into New Mexico.

3 different mountain ranges in southwest Colorado.

3 different mountain ranges in southwest Colorado.

A side view of a series of mesas and canyons. The cliff dwellings were found in these canyons.

A side view of a series of mesas and canyons. The cliff dwellings were found in these canyons.

One of the largest cliff dwellings. I believe this compound had 30+ rooms.

One of the largest cliff dwellings. I believe this compound had 30+ rooms.

The inhabitants of these cliff dwellings would live high in these canyons making for impenetrable fortresses.

The inhabitants of these cliff dwellings would live high in these canyons making for impenetrable fortresses.

Built in 1200AD. Truly remarkable use of land and resources to build a community.

Built in 1200AD. Truly remarkable use of land and resources to build a community.

Days 3-5: Denver to Wyoming

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

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

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 is a great example of what Mountain Bow National Forest looks like

This pretty much sums up Wyoming, cattle/horses and mountains

This pretty much sums up Wyoming, cattle/horses and mountains

Another picture of wilderness in Wyoming

Another picture of wilderness in Wyoming

Getting closer to the Grand Tetons, more rivers in this part of 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

Heading into the mountains that become the Grand Tetons, the rivers began to be filled with rapids

The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons

This is home and that makes me incredibly happy

This is home and that makes me incredibly happy, where are you sleeping tonight?

My private beach on the lake I camped by

My private beach on the lake I camped by

One thing people should realize: no matter where you go, you will never be alone

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

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.

-Warren

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

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

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

Another view of the Tetons. The meadow below is part of a horse ranch

Days 1-2: Texas to Denver

So I’m gone! I finally set off on Day One of my western U.S. adventure with little more than a mind full of ideas and a car full of supplies. I decided to drive from San Antonio to Caprock Canyon State Park (TX panhandle between Lubbock and Amarillo) to stay the first night. The day was full of driving through the hilliest parts of Texas as well as the flattest parts. I really enjoyed the drive because I was able to finally realize that I am indeed “on the road”. I had been waiting for that feeling for a while. By the time I made it to my campsite it was almost midnight and I was beat tired. Sleep and driving were the only two things I was going to accomplish on day one.

Pictures from Day One:

Caprock Canyon State Park (TX)

Caprock Canyon State Park (TX)

Caprock Canyon State Park (TX)

Caprock Canyon State Park (TX)

Day two started with me being able to finally see in light where I had drove into the previous night. Caprock Canyon is a very interesting formation in that is in the middle of the flattest part of Texas. I found out in the morning that Caprock is actually what the rock is called that lays underneath the Texas panhandle. So the red rocks of the canyons I was seeing were actually all throughout the panhandle. Caprock Canyon is just the only place where a lot of the rock has come through. The park was also home to the only bison heard in Texas, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to see any while I was there. The rest of the day consisted of driving through the low plains of Texas and a little Oklahoma into the high plains of Eastern Colorado. In Texas and Oklahoma, corn seemed to be the prevalent crop but when I got to the higher plains of Colorado, I realized sunflowers seemed to be a common crop of choice. These yellow dotted fields stretched for what looked like miles and at points surrounded the road on both sides. Definitely a very cool area of the country that I had never gotten a chance to experience before. The drive into Denver was much like any other drive through a major metro city around 5-6pm, traffic. After getting through all the traffic though I finally made it to where I am staying tonight. Cherry Creek State Park is a 460 acre park in the middle of Denver. I don’t mean outskirts of Denver, I mean the park is surrounded by the city. Earlier I wondered the park looking at the nature of the high plains I’d seen all day while listening to the hustle and bustle of Denver. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a park quite like this one in that aspect. I’m not sure if I enjoy hearing cars in such a naturally beautiful place, but one perk is one that I’m gladly taking full advantage of: Free Wi-Fi. And with that, I’m signing off. I’ll post again when I have something else to share.

-Warren

Pictures from Day Two:

Texas Panhandle

Texas Panhandle

Crossing from Oklahoma into the high plains of Colorado

Crossing from Oklahoma into the high plains of Colorado

Sunflower fields in the high plains area of Eastern Colorado

Sunflower fields in the high plains area of Eastern Colorado

Cherry Creek State Park (CO)

Cherry Creek State Park (CO)

Downtown Denver with some sailboats out on the lake

Downtown Denver with some sailboats on the lake