Monday, September 19, 2016

Vedauwoo Recreation Area and Laramie, Wyoming

September 11 - 13, 2016:

A very short but extremely windy trip of 40 miles on interstate 80 west from Cheyenne to Buford, Wyoming.  The Venauwoo Recreation Area, part of the Medicine Bow National Forest, is about 2 miles off the highway and is a rock climbers mecca.  It is an area of immense boulders rising out of the surrounding prairie.  We are somewhat frustrated here as there is incredible hiking and bouldering here but our knees are not up to the task. There are a lot of climbers here mostly technical climbing on established routes.  This type of climbing takes divine faith in your gear, anchors and other mechanical locking devices, or a disregard for your life, I just don’t have that faith !   It is possible to wander around in this maze of boulders and find routes between the rocks that lead up to great heights, but they involve some slippery slopes and my knee although improved is not up to that today.

The campsite

Rocks of all sizes and shapes

A climbers paradise

Strange Toadstool rocks

iphone photo

Ancient tree in the rocks

Huge balanced boulders

You can scramble up high in places

A storm approaching

There are several weird attractions nearby which we take a look at.  The first is the Ames Monument built by the Union Pacific railroad dedicated to the Ames Brothers.  The Ames Brothers were instrumental in the construction of the railroad in this area.  As we arrived there, there was a family group, kids climbing up the side of the monument, very dangerous looking with their mom sitting in the car completely disregarding the danger.  Twinkles told them it was illegal to do that, but there was no sign, so I guess if you fall and kill yourself you can sue the State of Wyoming.  One of the kids about 10 years old was scared to come down, needed help, big brother to the rescue, coming down is much scarier.  This monument is huge, very costly to build and was quite an attraction in the years before Interstate 80.  It now sits off the beaten track with Route 80 travelers whizzing by unknowingly.

Ames Monument

Sculpture of one of the Ames Brothers done by noted
sculpter Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Another attraction is a Tree growing out of a rock in a center median of Interstate 80.  The Union Pacific Railroad originally ran right next to it and the train crews stopped and watered the tree.  The railroad has moved away and Interstate 80 now runs around it.

This explains it all

The lonesome tree

The next attraction is a huge monument with a bust of Abraham Lincoln at an Interstate 80 rest area.  This is located at the highest point on the Interstate 80 highway.  

Monument to Henry B Joy at the original Lincoln Highway,
Interstate 80.  He was the president of the Lincoln Highway 


Lincoln Statue on Interstate 80 rest area

The last is the town of Buford, population 1, owned by a Vietnamese man who runs a nice convenience store that sells Vietnamese coffee and Buford souvenirs.,_Wyoming

Buford exit on Interstate 80

We are not having the best weather here, first extreme wind on Sunday night, but luckily our campsite is somewhat protected from the wind.  It then rained and turned cold on Tuesday afternoon and night with the temperature dropping to 39 degrees by morning.  The worst however was that it was 39 degrees with 100% humidity and a 20 MPH wind and encased in a solid fog bank.  We are at the high point of Interstate 80 right here at 8,200 foot elevation.  As the fog didn’t appear to be lifting anytime soon we went back downhill 15 miles to the city of Laramie. It was sunny there and we hung out at the Coal Creek Coffee Shop, had lunch and visited the Wyoming Territorial Prison.  At 4 PM, we start heading back up Interstate 80 and sadly see the fog bank still up ahead in the distance.  Arriving at the campground, yup it’s still foggy, the wind is still blowing and it’s 43 degrees, 2 degrees higher than when we left at 10 AM. 

Laramie Wyoming is one of my favorite western towns as it has many great old buildings, a great mural project, a massive rail yard, the Old Buckhorn Bar, several good restaurants and a vibrant college scene.  I didn't take many photos as my September 10-13, 2015 blog covered it well.,_Wyoming

Laramie street view

The Old Buckhorn Bar and Parlor

A favorite Aspen mural

A favorite old mural exposed when the adjacent
building was torn down

The backside of the Territorial Prison

Butch Cassidy was a professional

Butch spent some time here

Broom making became a prison industry, they make
brooms today for sale in the gift shop

Surprisingly we awaken to clear skies, the fog blew out overnight and the sun is shinning.  I take this opportunity to go out for a few photos on the opposite side of the campground.  The views are great, I could just wander in this area all day.

Amazing rock formations

I manage to climb up

Heavily fractured rocks

This is an incredibly scenic area and campground, I would definitely return, but hopefully under more favorable weather conditions.  

Next stop is Hermit Hollow Campground near Estes Park, Colorado,
Twinkles and Slick

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