Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming
16.09.2013 - 16.09.2013
We lucked into such a sweet little camping spot today!
We drove Highway 14 from Greybull, Wyoming, up into the Bighorn National Forest. This is a beautiful drive, winding up Shell Canyon. Shell Creek is visible some of the time at the bottom of the canyon, and the canyon itself is deep, with towering rock walls. Shell Creek Falls, where the creek drops 120 feet and rushes down the winding canyon, was a interesting stop. I was surprised to find sagebrush bushes growing out of the rock ledges above the falls. Their placement reminded me of hanging gardens, but they were the wrong kind of plant to be doing that!
We began the climb into the mountains at the tiny town of Shell, about 4,000 feet elevation. It was a pretty steady climb to Granite Pass (you thought it would be called Shell Pass, huh!) into the alpine environment at 9,000 feet. We thought we were going to the clouds!
A few miles beyond the pass, and back down at 7,700 feet elevation, we found Prune Creek Campground, one of the few campgrounds still open for the season. Indeed, the camp host told us this campground closes at 2p.m. tomorrow. We are in site 10, there are only 21 sites here all together, and just five parties staying tonight.
But our site feels like a slice of heaven: 25 yards from Prune Creek, with its rippling water; willows on the opposite bank that revealed a mule deer about dusk tonight; blue skies this afternoon, and tonight the moonlight is making the stream a ribbon of silver under the stars. Heaven!