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Old 05-05-2004, 10:41 PM   #64
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
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Phosphate Mines, Rough Tracks & Sparky the Beaver Retriever...

14th April

A beautiful morning. I spent yesterday evening doing my laundry and re-arranging the kit in my panniers. The left pannier leaks worse than the right, so I’ve put the stuff which will be less affected by this in the left pannier…

I set off and enter Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (a bit like a National Park, but intended for serious leisure…:P)



…like all these parks, it’s vast…



I ride on up the 191 – almost immediately, the road starts a long series of switchbacks, as it climbs into Ashley National Forest. It would be scenic, were it not for the huge phosphate mine which forms a huge blot on the hillside. The scenic overlook at the top of the hill has an earth berm bulldozed up around it, so the view is obscured…:(



A little further down the road, I see something lying in the gutter. As I approach, it moves…



…and takes up a defensive position in its roadside burrow. I believe it’s called a Marmot…

As I clear the last hill, Flaming Gorge Reservoir comes into view – breathtaking…



As I enter Wyoming, the landscape changes again. I’m reminded of the high desert, almost heath-land, that I rode through in New Mexico.



I ride through Kemmerer, a small town famous (?) for being the birthplace of the department store JC Penny, in 1902…



…and for having the most confusingly signed Motel in Wyoming…



I follow the route which I programmed into the GPS at Arch’s house. It follows a ‘County’ road – the equivalent of a ‘C’ class road in the UK. Except ‘C’ class roads tend to remain surfaced… :eek:



…never mind – it’s a lovely day and I’m in no hurry – I continue up the track.



Even when it gets a bit wet…



…until I meet Chet Alexander coming the other way. Chet’s been up the track using his ATV trying to put bait out and has been unable to get much further than where we are now (12 miles up the track), because of thick snow banks.



Chet was a policeman for 20 years and then worked for BP, but was recently laid off. He’s considering going back to work for them again, but it will mean moving to North Dakota. Chet is reluctant to do this, as he likes his life here. He and his huge Labrador Sparky go trapping (Chet traps and shoots beaver – when he shoots them, Sparky retrieves the 40lb beavers from downstream). But most of all, Chet likes to hunt. Bear. With a bow and arrow. The last one he killed weighed 400lbs. Gulp. :eek

I turn around and ride up into the attractively named Jackson Hole and check into Motel 6 in a sleety shower. Time for a hot shower and a cold beer…;)

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All text & original photos Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014

MikeO screwed with this post 12-11-2010 at 02:32 PM
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