The next dawn was a moving on day. I was heading to Laramie, Wyoming for a shower and real bed. But I impulsively opted to head north first to visit Devils Tower National Monument which added 3.5 to 4 hours of driving. Spectacular is an apt word to describe it mostly because it looms on the horizon and seems to rise out of the earth in columns (or marks of the claw in Kiowa tradition) in the midst of rolling plains and grasslands. This is such an imposing and prominent butte, though more than likely it is the remnants of a much larger land mass that eroded away. It had not occurred to me when I made the impulsive decision, that so many people would head all that way out there into what seems the middle of nowhere to see a monolith. But then I was doing exactly the same thing. I had not considered it being a 4 day holiday replete with national holiday crowds and found myself in a long line of cars waiting to get through the gate. Fortunately I found a nice shady parking space and the day was not too warm to leave the dogs in the car. I was able to take the time to do the 1.3 mile Tower Trail circumventing the tower. My thanks and gratitude again to President Theodore Roosevelt for designating it the first national monument.
I was back on the road after an enjoyable experience and headed down to Laramie Wyoming without incident. “Not-So Pretty Priss” was quite happy with my new found respect for her and not pushing her to the limit with my lead foot. And even I am very much enjoying the more relaxed pace. I had hoped to get into Laramie early but the sun was setting by the time I was very close to the motel. I could see it across the way but could not get there. The bridge Siri re-directed me too was CLOSED and she would not give me any alternate directions. SO I called the motel and finally had the route only to turn just before the drive onto the Interstate . So then I had to drive several miles up and back to get there after dark The only redeeming factor the sky was ablaze in oranges and yellow. As per usual the guys were ecstatic and I was ok with not being a odiferous pioneer woman for another night. So I got out all the cords and set about charging my computer, iPad, iPhone, Garmin, camera battery, flashlight, FitBit, electric toothbrush… Crazy! But I am not about to forsake any of them.
Today July 2nd was a day when my feelings were all over the place as it was the one year anniversary of the death of my dearest friend and housemate Ramona. Waves of sadness would wash over me but I I was also excited as I was heading out of Wyoming and into the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. In a few days I would be hiking the Maroon Bells, a very special place for Ramona who completed an Outward Bound in that area. I think about that day one year ago, holding her hand as she took her final breaths and how she was so filled with grace and anticipation to finally be going to her Lord. I doubt I could face my own death with such courage and faith.
I left the motel Laramie Wyoming about 11:30, did a quick trip to the grocery and got gas and was off to the Big Creeks Lake campground in Colorado, another National Forest Service non- electric, non-shower, spigot water and vault toilet spa. I had made the reservation online and from the picture it look beautiful. I knew it was close to the area I wanted to be and as it was the 4th of July week-end reservable camping spots in Colorado were few and far between. I saw that Siri said it was 80 miles ,but time wise a couple hours, so I finally had a clue that it was going to be a ways off the beaten path. I was up for the adventure. I became even more sure when I saw I would be turning onto both county and the forest service roads. After just a few miles out of Cowdry (population 10 I think) , the pavement ended and off I went on a teeth jarring washboard gravel road winding hither and yon into the mountains. But it became more interesting as there were cows free ranging in the area and hanging out on the road. Once I negotiate my way through the cows there were several dear charging up the road, darting into the woods, darting back across the road. You bet I crawled along that road from that point on. Would surprise me if i got a few more cracks in the windshield.