Decided on impulse to stay a night. Went to the tav and there were $1 glasses of Pabst! I laughed out loud and a local mid-young age woman introduce herself. She was friendly, direct, and talkative. Melody. I hadn’t talked much to anyone for a few weeks. I told her I was traveling from Seattle. She was interested so I kept telling more. She is a flower arranging artist, and floral watercolorists. After a while she introduced me to her husband Jim. Showed them a few paintings on my site.
Soon its like we’d known each other for years! We played some pool in which I didn’t embarrass myself. Had fun. Melody invited me over for her special chili. I gave her a kiss on the cheek! The Pabst was kicking in. I asked for rain check. Didn’t want to drive intoxicated.
When morning came rain’s still pouring. I decide to head south instead of hanging with Melody and Jim. Melody was from Pinedale and told me a bit about the area. Sunny in Pinedale so I head out of town towards Fremont Lake, second biggest lake in Wyoming. The road turns to gravel. I veer right in a random decision and head for Half Moon Lake. A lush campsite wooded with clumps of Aspens. The lake is huge on one side and mountains edge other side. This is a 2 day spot. Only a few campers here. There’s a lodge up the road a few miles. A dirt bumpy road. We head over to lodge but its closed with limited hours. No sign of life. Tables set with glasses. Opens at 4 for dinner says sign. We go further and pass a horse trailer at the trailhead. Park next to a red pickup. We go on a great walk just above the lake along a winding irregular trail. Rock cliffs, dry sagebrush, Aspen trees; looks like mountain lion country. I stay alert since it feels like wildlife is watching me. Its nice having a couple dogs to extend perceptions. I feel safer with the dogs. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be walking on wilderness trails alone. My imagination goes nuts about what could happen with wildlife encounters. Speaking of which, should I be watching for rattlesnakes?
I let JP take a swim and we head back. Meet a hunter along the way. Luckily I spot him way ahead and see he has a dog scouring the hill. I avoid a fight by picking up my dogs, one in each arm. The hunter was a young man, friendly, respectful, very handsome in bright orange vest. He pulled his dog in as we pass on the trail.
Back at camp I step out of RV and see a mule deer. A doe, grey brown with a white patch on butt. I froze. She froze. We had a stare down. The stare down could go on but I wanted a picture. So I break the freeze, pull camera up, turn it on. Meanwhile she jumps and starts walking. I manage to get a blurry shot. Suddenly there was a big commotion and 5,6, 7, 8 or more other deer go streaming through the aspens. God it was beautiful! I figeted with the zoom and in a few minutes the entire troup had gracefully clamored up the hill. There must have been a buck in there since he belted out a few heavy grunts, like victorious exclamations. What a thrill. Would only want to shoot with a camera. Another paradox. I’d want to eat any fish I caught, but wouldn’t want to kill a deer. More work to do on my head.
In the morning I discover a mouse. Cute little dickens, making himself at home in the RV. Seems to be aware of me, but he daringly lingers on the carpeted step. Can’t let him live here due to mouse dropping desease. I decide to hunt him with dogs. Place GG near the last point before mouse disappeared behind piles of clothes and stuff. She picks up his scent and I keep enthusiastically egging GG on; get’em GG! get’em.
He darts between her legs. Now she is interested. I make a little hole through the clothes and junk and she burrows into the back corner. I watch her instincts kick in.
She rustles the mouse to the other side of bed. Seems the mouse has lost us. I start pulling out the bins one by one, and GG is right there. We get to the last bin. I pull it out.
There is the mouse, frozen in the corner. Eyes bulging in fear. GG about 3” nose to nose.
Quick as hell the mouse jumps. GG lunges but mouse streaks past and out the slide out. Perfect. We sent a message to the little guy and he gets to be alive. I duct tape the little hole where mouse got in.
On the drive out of camp I pull over to snap a pic. A guy in camper pulls around me. asks where in Washington am I from? He knew of Issaquah. Shawn. Turns out he was from Puyallup. We shot the breeze a bit. He told me about Soda Lake as a great spot to camp for free. I like this area, Pinedale,so decide to head up to Soda Lake to check it out. Load up on food at the grocery. On to Soda Lake.
Soda Lake is kind of ordinary looking. What is spectacular is the mountain range, part of the Wind River Range with a fresh dusting of snow. The tallest is Gannet Peak (shorter than Mt. Rainier) according to my interpretation of map. I follow a few miles of bumpy road to an open plateau above Soda Lake. There is a ring of stones for a fire pit.
A great wide open spot. My rig situation looks like a Ford Truck ad. Several fishermen line up along the lake edge below, five or six. Me in my camper. Dedicated fisherman out in the wild. No tourists but me.
I set up camper then take dogs for a stroll. We walk down to lake and talk to a few fishermen. Most are older. Catching brown trout but throwing them back. I wonder what is the point. Guess they just like to hook ‘em. One guy, Shawn, explains the lake is alkaline so the fish taste bad. There’s a lot for fish to eat so they get big and fat. Makes’em fun to catch.
Fisherman are there from before sunrise to after sunset on Saturday. Sunday morning comes and I feel like drumming. I drum for a few hours. Cathartic. Feel great.
I feel recharged. Dry camping strains batteries but I’m in good shape since running generator at Half Moon Lake. Dogs are ready for a hike so we walk to the wildlife reserve, duck ponds. About a 4 mile hike through sagebrush to a little oasis of greenery.
No ducks, just several grazing cows. We come face to face with the bull. I get a bit nervous since he takes a confrontational stance. He huffs. We slowly move away and he circles around. A couple stragglers run by to join the rest of herd. JP wants to swim but the water looks questionable.
In the morning I drum for a while then head South to Rock Springs.
Rock Springs doesn’t do anything for me. No RV camps here on my APP camp finder. There’s a truck stop. I want to watch the Seahawks/Greenbay game so I decide to stay at truckstop. The price is right; free.
I enjoy the game as truckers file through to the shower room. Seahawks play a good game but lose a close one. Cousin Jim should be happy with GB win. Dogs seem uptight as the truckers run their diesel engines all night. Surrounded by big rigs. Make my rig seem tiny.
Happy to drive out in the morning. Filling propane tank and off to Green River.
Cousin Jim recommends Green River, so I stay there a night.
Driving through town I count 6, 7, 8 taverns! How could such a small town have more taverns than churches? I think I like this place. I find a spot to park RV near the train yard. Another night of free camping but hidden cost could be sleep loss due to train noise. Had fun bar hopping! Met a very cool local, Randy. He spoke slowly, deliberately and was fun to hang with. 51 years, a real mans man. Hard working and real. The Bartender at the Brewery made a great Au Jus sandwich. Super friendly and proudly showed me pictures of gash in his arm from a recent injury installing a window shield. After seeing skinned and gutted deer loose in the back of a proud hunters truck, arm gash seems charming .
Randy and I went to a strip club. One guy was there getting a lap dance. Only customer there. We talked to bartender who spoke so fast you could hardly understand. She skipped around in thought and covered a lot of subjects with her strong republican opinions. She hates Obama. So did Randy. They both went on about conspiracy theories. It was midnight and I had enough so I kindly bid farewell and walk 2 blocks through alley to my rig by the tracks.
If I’m going to speak my mind in these parts I’d better be sharp with supportive arguments. No matter how deft and eloquent my arguments I sense there are no minds open enough to consider my rationalizations. I’ll save my opinions for another time when feeling spry.
In the morning I gas up and head south along Green River and Flaming Gorge.