(Lovell to Ranchester WY)
Went up into the Bighorn Mountains via Medicine Wheel Scenic Byway; named for the historic site of a native ceremonial rock arrangement atop the mountains. It was a challenging drive for both me and Tardis.
The steep climb up the mountain, from the west, had me thinking that my rig might not make it to the top. Slowly, and with a couple stops on the way, we finally made it to Baldy Pass at 9,430 ft. It wasn’t so much the altitude as the grade going up the 5,573 ft climb.
Having endured the drive up, I decided to forgo the 600 ft additional ascent up a three mile gravel road, and then a hike to the monument. I had read about it and seen the photos on the internet. Since the wheel is a sacred place to the natives, I doubted that one could get very close.
My first camp was at a forest service campground at 9,114 ft. I thought the price of $7.50 (1/2 price Sr Pass rate) was bit high for a drycamp with pit toilet and no internet. It had no special features or scenery, so I only stayed one night.
I went looking for a boondock camp on a forest road, and while searching saw a bull moose. It was the Independence Day holiday weekend, so I wasn’t alone. The spot was on the edge of a field with a few trees, had a view of the forest and Twin Buttes in the distance.
On the way out, there was a dump and fresh water station along the highway for a donation of your choice. A welcomed service as I was wondering where I would find one passing through the very rural area. If you decide to travel this route, I recommend entering from the east as the grade is much more gradual.
Camps: Bighorn NF-Bald Mountain CG drycamp, Bighorn NF boondock
Scene: Mountains, buttes, forest, lake, moose