Range Roaming – Reflections on Wyoming

Here is the email update summarising Wyoming that I sent to my family and friends:

Yesterday morning, after 62 days and 1706 miles in the state, I bid farewell to Wyoming. I’m now slowly making my way to Glenwood Springs, then Gunnison, Creede and finally to Salida in Colorado. I was sad to say goodbye to WY – it has been an absolutely grand experience. Here is the “letter to my summer love” as the trip update:

My dearest Wyoming,
It is with great sadness that I must end my time with you today. Over the past two months you have shown me great beauty, 3-D textbook geology and how human culture and history is so intimately tied to the landscape, its resources and its underlying geology. Your beauty has at times been stunning, dramatic, breathtaking, awe-inspiring and obvious. At other times it’s been harsh, rough and raw, or subtle and subdued. But there has been beauty everywhere, and it has filled my heart and made me feel so whole, alive and connected that I feel at times that my heart just might explode. The geology was everything I’d hoped for and more – it was such a joy to read the landscape and take in that sense of time and scale as I pedaled at 4.5-14.5 mph or sailed downhill at 25-35 mph.

You challenged me daily. Your reputation for being windy proved true – and early morning starts were the only way to stay sane. My greatest disappointment in any day was sticking my head out of the tent at 4.45 am to find that, at that absurd hour, you’d already rustled up enough air movement to bend back the grass tips. You also challenged me with the long distances between water sources and places to resupply. At times I had to carry 8-10 pounds of water and food in the central sagebrush parts of the state. However, tackling the wind and the need for self-sufficiency gave me a great sense of self-accomplishment and strength. The day I rode 80 miles, the last 20 of that into a 25mph headwind uphill to South Pass, and then camped in the sagebrush off the road was a tough time, but it will be a trip highlight. So will be the day there was only one reliable supply point at mile 80. We pushed hard that day through wind and moderately difficult terrain to go 102 miles on the 4th of July. We camped that night, appropriately, in the shadows of Independence Rock with the spirits of thousands of emigrants on the Oregon Trail who had done just the same. The first food supply point the next day was at mile 40. Tough but grand!

Oh, Wyoming – thank you so much for the awesome experience – the mountain passes, the high desert hills and valleys, the wide roads and distant vistas. I have never felt so good in my whole adult existence. You have whipped me into the best physical and mental fitness of my life. Everyday I’ve woken with the greatest sense of gratitude – thankful to all the things, people and circumstances that allowed me this time, place and space to absorb so much beauty, solitude and history on such grand scales. Thank you Wyoming, it’s been tremendous – I will never forget my time roaming around your landscapes. Here’s the time by the numbers:

62 days from May 24 to July 25.
Miles 1450 – 3156 for a total of 1706 miles
9 mountain passes summited
Highest elevation gained 10,847 ft.
Lowest elevation ridden in state 3,510 ft at Beulah.
4 Continental Divide crossings.
86 towns or localities travelled through.
Visited both national parks in the state and both national monuments.
Visited 20 of 24 counties and many, many national and state historical sites.
Traveled through 6 of 7 National Forests.
Rode on portions of 10 of 17 state scenic byways or backways.
Visited 4 of 12 state parks.

With much love and respect,

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