Bighorn Mountains

I’m a couple days behind on the blog.  After I sent off the last blog entry, Regis got stung by a bee.  We’re pretty sure that Dart got stung a few days before that from trying to bite at a bee.

We also had a storm come through about the time we went to bed.  Dart was a mess.  I gave him one of Tekoe’s pills and he definitely relaxed.  Prior to the pill taking effect, he was “hard as a rock”.  Afterwards, he was “soft”.  After the storm subsided we all went to sleep and woke up about 2:30 a.m.  I don’t know why, but we all did.  We got Dart some water because he appeared very thirsty and decided it might not be a bad idea to check out the night sky.  At that time, there were no clouds in the sky and we were able to not only see the Milky Way (which I haven’t seen since my trip to Costa Rica and Regis can’t even remember the last time he has seen it) but we also saw the Perseid’s meteor shower.  Oh my gosh.  At home, we see a meteor every 5 minutes if we’re lucky.  We kept seeing them.  Some were going the wrong way, so we think they might have been regular meteors.  The only thing that got us back into bed was the crook in our necks from looking up.

We went into town to gas up while in Big Timber and saw the following sign.  Our favorite for that day.

Sign at gas station in Big Timber, Montana

We headed to Sheridan, Wyoming yesterday and passed the Custer Last Stand battlefield on the way.  I wanted to see it after reading a book on Custer recently.  But, the temperature was above 100 degrees, the terrain was open, I was tired of us driving (maybe the heat?) and I didn’t care when we drove by so we didn’t stop.  After we set up camp, I went to town for groceries and the truck temperature gauge measured 106 degrees.  I wanted to buy ice cream but how do you buy ice cream when you have to drive 6 miles in 106 degree temperatures without it melting?  I couldn’t figure it out and didn’t buy it.  But, when I got back to camp, I was wiped.  I couldn’t even think of a blog post last night with no pictures and being just plain tired.

Friday temperature that actually showed 106 degrees in the truck in town earlier in the day, Again, hot is hot

Today, we were in better spirits even though we left this morning in the heat again.  We headed to the Bighorn mountains.  I did not expect to be able to do much hiking because it was so hot.  My first plan was to go to a canyon that had a river running through it and a trail along side.  The trail was closed due to fire activity.  The following pictures show the burned mountain and the sign.

Sign to the Tongue River Canyon hike we wanted to do

So, we decided to go to Sibley Lake instead.  It is an area that has a bunch of Nordic Ski trails.  It looked like a nice camp ground even we could use with out big RV.  It had electricity.  But, it didn’t allow dogs.  Onward ho!

My next plan was to go to Steamboat Point.  We got there and took pictures.  The weather was cooler than when we left the camp ground but still too hot for a hike to the top of this.  Plus, I think you had to hike through a bunch of cows who starting mooing as soon as they saw Regis.  I figured they loved him or hated him.  I couldn’t figure it out.

Steamboat Point in the Bighorn Mountains

In an attempt to get Dart out of the truck for a walk, we hiked through a field at the top of a mountain at an overlook.  The sign said that sheep often graze here on National Forest lands.  There was lots of scat in the field (sheep scat?).  Dart was in heaven.  We could let him off the leash and he could sniff piles of poop til his heart was content.  He was so ecstatic he didn’t know what to do with himself.  By now, the temperature at the top of the mountain was pleasant and we were very glad not to be back in the heat in the valley.

My last thought was to hike the trail to Medicine Wheel which is believed to have been built by a member of the Crow tribe 700 years ago.  Lots of people from around the world go to it for spiritual reasons.  The temperature was in the 60’s and it almost 10,000 feet in elevation.  It was a lovely hike with great views.  The Forest Service employees were awesome.  We also saw some Pika’s and Yellow-Bellied Marmots on the walk back.  I don’t like my Marmot pictures but included a Pika picture.

Medicine Wheel in Bighorn Mountains
Medicine Wheel in Bighorn Mountains
Pika in Bighorn Mountains

On the way back, we saw some beautiful male deer.

Other than hearing about the Bighorn in Custer’s Last Stand, I never knew about these mountains until I decided to visit on our way home on this trip.  They are awesome.  For geologists at heart, they reveal layers of rock/sediment from the past and the Forest Service puts signs along the highway to explain what era you are looking at.  I fell in love.  Once you get to the top of the Bighorns and look west, on a clear day you might be able to see Yellowstone.  It was hazy today and we could see the smoke from wild fires burning, so we couldn’t see far or get good pictures.  I had no idea about the Bighorns.  There are so many ski, hiking, ATV, and horse trails that it is a paradise for the outdoor person.  Not to mention, there are trout streams, etc.

One of many signs explaining the different layers of earth we were seeing in the Mountains
Where hang gliders take off at Bighorn Mountains (yowee I would love to try)

On our return, we decided to end the day with a stop in Sheridan at a local brewery.  Since we had Dart, we sat outside.  The bees joined us.  It took at least one beer before I calmed down about the bees and said “whatever”.  I suspect they were looking for liquid in this dry climate.  At this point, our biggest job was to make sure we didn’t drink a bee or let Dart bite at them.

I have one last mention for this post.  I think I created a problem with Dart.  He hates cattle grates and gravel roads.  In Idaho, we drove on gravel roads that went over cattle grates.  Since he hates it so much, I allowed him in my lap on the front seat when we were on gravel roads.  We were driving slowly and he doesn’t usually cuddle.  So, I enjoyed it.

Today, as soon as we hit the first cattle grate, he started mooching up into the front.  Once we hit the first dirt road, he was in my lap.  After that, it was really hard to get him to stay in the back without getting super tough with him.  When we are on gravel roads, I don’t mind him in my lap.  But, it’s not safe for him to stay there when we are driving at higher speeds on paved roads.  I think if the air bag opened, he would get injured.  

End of the day refreshments accompanied by bees

This post was updated August 16 to correct the spelling of Bighorn.

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