Lander to Dubois: The Great Surprise

A flat plateau, a sense of anticipation …

Returning from Lander always summons a memory: the end of the long commute we used to take back from New York. (I also think of the many people on bicycle tours who head this way each summer, and of what they’re coming to.) Nearing the end of our own four-day westward journey, after enduring the madness of the eastern Interstates and the endless trek across flat Nebraska, I always had a strong sense of anticipation at this point. Crossing a long, fairly featureless plateau with rolling hills, there is a distant view of our mountains.
Suddenly, without much warning, the highway drops into a long decline. It’s a scene of wind-blown hoodoos up close, with a distant view of hills and buttes. You start to see hints of the river valley ahead. I always love this moment. Dubois waits down there.
You reach the bottom, and there it spreads out before you: The beauty of the Wind River Valley. I gasped the first time I saw it. This is dull November. At other times, of course, it’s green.
Homeward. At this point, cyclists may notice only the mileage figure. The landscape offers no hint of the delights that lie ahead: the red and blue roofs on the ranch buildings in the culverts, the red rock cliffs, the striped badlands, the winding riverbed lined with willows. What lies beyond the curves are landmarks to me now, not surprises. But I never tire of them.

© Lois Wingerson, 2017
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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.

2 thoughts on “Lander to Dubois: The Great Surprise”

  1. We share your anticipation, and passion…thanks for the preview this time. We are only days behind you as we tow one of our last loads from Chicago to our home in Dubois. We can picture in our minds eye the painted hills, the river, the wide open beauty, and yes the Absarokas and Wind River mountains. We will arrive Thanksgiving mid-morning. Not planned so much as just meant to be.

    Now, if the weather holds and the trailer isn’t too heavy to be towed up that last mile, we’ll have a perfect day on Thu. If too heavy or too much snow…well, we’ll just hunker down in town and call Joel to see if he can do some plowing on Fri. In any event, we’ll be home – all good!

    1. Thanks so much for comments. Safe travels, and welcome!

      I sincerely regret to say that I will be out of town from the day after Thanksgiving, for a few weeks. I look forward to meeting both of you after I return. If I get a chance, I’ll email to see how you’re settling in.

      Good luck with that trailer, and happy Thanksgiving!

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