Wyoming is a contrast of stark and lush beauty.
The starkness comes from arid, wide open ranches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Dry, sometimes parched land just begging for a good rainstorm where posted warning signs say “Fire risk: High.”
Then all of the sudden you make a sweeping turn and before you lies the lush beauty of Wind River Canyon. This canyon lies between the towns of Shoshoni and Thermopolis. It’s the kind of beauty that you won’t soon forget. Rock walls rise 2500 feet high, towering above the Wind River, which lives up to its name.
At the “Wedding of the Waters,” the river’s name changes to the Rocky Mountain Bighorn River, named after the Bighorn sheep in the area. We studied the landscape but weren’t able to see any sheep along the route.
It takes about 40 minutes to drive through the canyon. Part of it is located on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Today Mark and I drove it together so that we could more quickly reach the destination of Thermopilis. It is here that he is resuming the bike ride for Phase 3, but in Phase 2 of our trip, he rode through the canyon. It is one of the highlights for him so far. He said it’s amazing how small one feels when riding below towering canyons.
One advantage Mark has is that on a bike he sees so much more than I do from the truck. For example, as he pedaled along the highway, he could see numerous pronghorn deer lying so close to the edge of the road that he would startle them as he rode by. You miss that when traveling by car.
It’s hard to capture the beauty of Wind River Canyon in photos, but I hope these inspire you to visit it some day for yourself!
Thanks for taking the journey with us and now go kick up some dust!