Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

We spent three weeks in Wyoming this past August and very much enjoyed the climbing at Ten Sleep Canyon, which lies just south of the Big Horn Range. We experienced wild fluctuations in temperatures and conditions, but overall the weather was cooperative and we enjoyed climbing, hiking and exploring this part of central Wyoming.

We stopped in Yellowstone National Park on our way to Ten Sleep and enjoyed hiking to the summit of Mt. Washburn, the highest peak in the park. Wildlife was abundant and we saw buffalo, prong horn, mountain sheep and elk.

After the Mount Washburn hike, we stopped at Yellowstone Falls before getting locked in a serious traffic jam trying to get to our campground. Buffalo were swarming across the highway! After a crowded night, we toured some geothermal vents the next morning alongside Yellowstone Lake and then high-tailed it for Ten Sleep Canyon.

Upon arrival, we toured the various camping options and settled on Meadowlark Lake, a reservoir at the top of the canyon. It was peaceful and the high elevation provided cool overnight temperatures for sleeping. This became our home away from home and we enjoyed swimming and fishing in the lake as well as the wildlife that came to visit.

Our first week was extremely hot, but afternoon thunderstorms cooled things off and provided the occasional stunning rainbow. The climbing was high quality and both Elise and Pam enjoyed the many moderates the canyon had to offer.

Between climbing days, we toured the local towns. Buffalo had a great outdoor community pool and the Worland Recreation Center had an amazing water slide, both of which were popular with Elise. We viewed interesting native pictographs at Medicine Lodge, swam in the hot springs of Thermopolis and visited the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum, home to a Supersaurus specimen, one of the largest dinosaurs to ever roam the land

Hiking trails are abundant in the Big Horn Range and we explored a number of different regions. Our favourite hike was to Misty Moon Lake, where we sat and watched two bull moose feed in the lake's shallows. When one started briskly walking towards us, we made a quick retreat! During our evening return journey, we spotted many deer, elk and moose, often at very close range.

In our final week, the smoke from various fires in Montana and Washington started to affect our skies, and we experienced heavy haze and the smell of woodsmoke. But as we travelled back to the coast, we encountered serious precipitation, the likes of which we'd not seen since early in the spring. Despite our lack of enthusiasm, the forests needed the rain desperately. Squamish is slowly turning green once again.

Back home, it's now time to return to fall routines as Pam and Elise settle into work and school. Here's our nine-year-old on her first day of grade four! How time flies...