Monday, June 21st we left Lander, Wyoming, took Hwy 28 through Farson to Hwy 372 and then turned south to I-80 at Green River then west to Fort Bridger.
The drive today was absolutely breathtaking. We crossed the Wind River Mountains, then the Continental Divide at South Pass, then across more miles and miles of high prairie desert. It was all very good 2-lane roads until we hit the interstate.
We started across the Wind River Range pretty soon after we left - we started at around 5300 feet elevation and within 10 miles we had climbed up to 7100 feet and 5 miles farther we were up to 8100 feet. A few miles farther we topped out at 8400 feet - really beautiful country.
A little later we crossed the Continental Divide at South Pass - elevation 7580 feet. The divide is along a 30 mile plain and unless there had been a sign and a place to pull out at a lookout, we wouldn’t have known it. In fact, a lot of the emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail crossed here and didn’t realize they had crossed the divide until they started noticing the water in the streams running west instead of east.
We pulled out at the Continental Divide overlook and it was like we were on top of the world. We could see forever & ever to the west with snow covered mountains to the north and east. Just beautiful!
We realized somewhere along the way that we had traveled over 60 miles and had not seen any kind of dwelling place and very few trees - there are fences along both sides of the road and there are a few cattle every now and then, but no signs of civilization. Also, the Pronghorn Antelopes are still very plentiful.
We drove through about 25 miles of “open range”. They had a couple of big signs that were funny - one said “Warning, slow moving vehicles” with a picture of a cow. Another said “Warning, antelope entering highway at 55 mph” with a picture of a running antelope.
Today, Tuesday, we went next door to the RV Park where we’re staying and visited the Fort Bridger State Historical Site. Fur trapper/mountain man Jim Bridger built the fort as a private trading post in 1843, it was taken over by the Mormons in the 1850’s, and when they left it, they burned the original fort. Then the Army came in 1858 and built a military post. It was another major landmark and stopping spot for the emigrants on the Oregon Trail. A lot of the original Army buildings are still standing, but the since the original fort was burned, they now have a replica of it.
Also today we rode some of the back country gravel roads and passed these giant windmills up close and personal. There must have been close to hundred of these in the area.
Tomorrow we're moving on to Idaho!!