Wind River Country
Johnny Behind the Rocks

October 13th, 2015

Criss-crossing the scrublands of the Wind River mountains on hard-pack gravel and old, dusty wagon-wheel trails. A better alternative would have been Lander Cutoff or Hwy #28.

What happened…

Andrew writes: When you have nowhere to go, and no time to be there, is it possible to be lost? That was a question I asked myself several times today as we made our way towards Atlantic City, Wyoming. Somehow, the GPS track I had made from Google Maps was nowhere to be found, so we just rode today by “feel”. The landscape could be described as bleak, rolling hills criss-crossed with wagon or ATV tracks, and the only fauna the resolute sagebrush. Buttes dot the horizon to the west, and the continental divide runs along the east. To the south lies the Great Divide Basin, a stretch of desert populated by the nomadic herds of antelope. Miles upon miles of Wyoming countryside. We have paper maps, and so when I saw a sign pointing to Farson, I knew I didn’t want to go that way, and thus began the “adventure”.

We cycled along the earth road, mostly in a southern direction. I seemed to recall in my head that we should be going S or SE. We stopped for lunch and as fate would have it, a group of horsemen directed us towards the main highway, which would put us 20 miles out of Farson, and from there we could ride on towards A.C. I estimated that it would leave us with more than 30 miles to our “destination”. We again decided to keep going down the path less travelled.

This brought us to Jim’s sheep farm, where again, he offered us a short cut to the highway 25 miles from Farson, about halfway to Atlantic City. He also pointed in the direction of some foothills to the east, saying that the Lander Cutoff Road ran along the top, and it would take us almost right over South Pass, and almost to Atlantic City with none of the fuss or muss of a busy highway. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but we would spend the next 4 hours trying to navigate a labyrinth of wagon-wheel tracks, possibly the old Oregon Trail itself, which used to run through these parts.

It would be easy to think that we were “lost”. Yet, with a road always on our horizon, were we really? We don’t have to be in Denver until the end of the month.
Besides, we have ample food and water, so really I relished the opportunity to have an adventure, something perhaps that I’ll look back on when I’m old.

Frustration started to mount between Amanda and I, with her refusing to follow at times. Fortunately, she didn’t ride off in the opposite direction like I was tempted to do at times, but I believe that when you’re cycling in a desert, there’s only room for one captain on the ship. I wanted to be that captain. And then, Amanda simply reached a point where she had had enough.

We topped the foothills with a half-hour to spare before sunset, and setup camp, barely speaking to one another.

Amanda writes:
It’s on days like today that I get scared. Not scared because we’re lost so much as scared that we don’t work as a team when then going gets tough. Before we left Canada I had voiced my concern to Andrew that one of my fears was that we become separated when traveling in foreign countries. Days like today remind me of that fear and make me realize we need to work on our communication and how we handle stressful situations. We’re a team and we need to work as one when under pressure. Today that didn’t happen.

Today’s Photographs

Wind River Country
Johnny Behind the Rocks