Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sunday drive continued...

On the outskirts of Thermopolis, we turned right off the highway, leaving civilization once again.  I did dig deeper for a more recent highway map and found one, but it was of no help.  If we could make it all the way to Lysite, which looked like about 30 miles, we would make a nice loop. 

This road was all gravel/dirt, and there was literally nothing but scenery the whole way.  At the start, we passed a sheep ranch, and it was interesting in that the dirt there was so red that all the sheep were tinted red with dust.  They had been recently sheered, and I can only imagine that it must be a mess to clean those sheep pelts.

We continued on and on and on, slowly climbing elevation.  Soon we were seeing drifts of unmelted snow in shady areas on the hills. We didn't count on melting snow.  The road started to look a little questionable in terms of mud.  But when we stopped to check, the ruts were dry enough and no mud was sticking to the we drove on. 

Don't these scraggly old cottonwood trees look spooky?

Now we'd traveled 25 miles, getting close to reaching Lysite...and the highway leading home.  But, we continued to see melting snow banks, and they were ever closer to the road.  I cautiously verbalized my fear that we would come this far and then face a muddy bog we couldn't get through.  Julie was getting a bit concerned too. 

At that point, we came around a corner, and it looked like we had a muddy stretch ahead.  But it was downhill, and there was dry road ahead.  If this was the worst of it, we'd be in fine shape.  I had to make a quick decision, and I decided to go for it, giving the car a bit more gas, getting some momentum through the muddy section.  We got down that hill just fine, BUT at the bottom we saw trouble.  (I was not thinking about taking a picture.) The road ahead curved to the left and then made a steady climb uphill again...AND it had melting snow COVERING the road nearly to the top of the next hill.  We stopped the car, got out and walked out on to the snow and mud.  It's hard to say if we could make it our not.  My wheels were already mud packed, so they had no "grab."  And what was ahead?  If it was worse, we'd have to come back through this mess!  We were "who knows how far from help," and we had no phone service.  My previous experience was saying to me, "Turn around, gal, this is not worth taking a chance." Julie agreed and admitted, "I never really thought about having to deal with this kind of road condition today." Me either.  Looking at the set of muddy tracks we'd been following for miles, we realized that a week earlier, we wouldn't have made it this far. 

OK, we'll turn around... but we were not exactly out of the woods yet.  We had to go uphill through that muddy section we just came down.  Back in the car, seat belts fastened, car in low gear, we bull-dozed our way up and out.  I had to put the "pedal to the metal," and Julie was a bit jumpy about sliding off the side of the hill, but we made it, with a minimum of sideways action. Whew!!!  We had to back-track 25 miles, but we were going to get home before dark!!

Relieved, I stopped for one more picture, that of one of the horses in a herd we'd passed earlier.  Note the length of its tail;  might be part of a wild herd.

 This wasn't quite the leisurely Sunday drive Julie had envisioned, but it was memorable.  Laughing, she said she wasn't too eager to share the details with anyone: What happens near Lysite, stays near Lysite!  We decided we would wait until the road dried out, and then make the trek from the opposite direction and see how close we actually got to the highway.

Well, we left a nice pile gumbo mud at the car wash in Thermop...leaving all traces of the "incident" behind.

A stop at McDonalds for a dipped cone was the topper for the day.  The ride home was delicious.


  1. An ice cream cone? You wild women!

    Sounds like you deserved it after that ride.

  2. Yikes, you had your car and not the pick-up! If you got stuck, it would have been a loooong wait OR walk to get help. It was, indeed, wise to turn around when you did.