Dubois: Middle of Nowhere, and Everywhere

Dubois WY
The road to Evanston, October 21.

One of the great things about Dubois is how great it is to get away.

Please don’t get me wrong. There’s probably not a minute when I want to escape.

A few weeks ago my husband asked whether I’d mind missing our annual road trip if he couldn’t fulfill his commitments before the holidays. I said I really didn’t mind.

Living in Dubois is sort of like a vacation anyway.

We did get away after all, and we chose the right time. Whatever it may say in “Home on the Range,” the skies were predicted to be cloudy all day on the day we left, and they did stay that way all day as we headed south.

1200px-US_map_-_geographic
Source: US Geological Survey

What I meant in the first sentence was that it’s almost the perfect place to start from on a road trip to somewhere else in the American West. Especially for someone like me, a retired Easterner who saw the West only via airports during business trips, it’s the ideal jumping-off point from which to explore.

Here’s a map of places we’ve visited by highway since moving to Dubois. The red line heading straight east is sort of a cheat, because it roughly describes the commute back to New York City which we take now and again. But those are road trips too, and I enjoy them.

jordanelleSkies were clearing as we reached our first campsite, in northern Utah.

Since then we have seen massive 1000-foot ridges of red stone that stayed with us for hours. We’ve dropped through vertiginous canyons and followed tortuous switchbacks. Nothing thousands of other tourists haven’t done — but it’s so easy to get home!

En route I’ve met several people who have taken months away from whatever to tour the American West by car. Lucky, lucky me. I can do it at my leisure.Flagstaff1

I can also take great hikes in a different location. The pictures at right are from a 3-mile loop the dog and I reached out the back entrance of our KOA campground in Flagstaff. It was a magical uphill scramble over many boulders, along a very well-maiintained trail, with the reward you see at the top.

On the left there you can see a long-dead, black volcano.

So much for what I’ve done on my vacation. What I’ve learned on my vacation is this: You can drive for many days around the American West, and see many unforgettable sights.

But I have yet to see any location in the American West that has so many of those remarkable sights — red rocks, massive vistas, huge rock formations, deep canyons, dark pine forests, hidden lakes — within such a relatively compact space.

In Sedona, all you see is red rocks. In Crater Lake, what you see is a high mountain lake. In Dubois, I can hike the red rock badlands or the pine forests. It just depends which way I turn onto the highway.

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© Lois Wingerson 2015

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Author: LivingDubois

I am a retired science journalist, devoted to enjoying and recording the many pleasures of life in the Wyoming's Upper Wind River Valley.

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