Joys of Dubois: The Midtown Mountain Overlook

It certainly says something about the hiking trails around Dubois that I could begin to find the views from the town overlook boring.

Overlook4 It certainly says something about the hiking opportunities in and around Dubois: By now,  the scenic overlook in the middle of town seems a bit of a bore to me, because I’ve traipsed so much of it so often.

But heavens, what you can see here!

You can drive to the top, or take the rather steep trail up from the parking lots halfway up, as you see in this picture.

The huge two-level butte is literally in the middle of town. It looms over the main section of Dubois, ascended by a steep dirt road that you reach by taking a right turn from the highway, just as you begin to head west out of town.

Overlook1Here’s what you see from the top, looking east. (That’s the top of the foot trail at the lower left.) You may want to stop a moment and sit on the log guard rail to catch your breath. There are informational signs about what you’re looking at.

You can see much of the town off to your right (not visible here), or the eastern edge of town in front of you (visible in the center of this photo).

But what really pops are the mountains all around you. This is one of the few places on earth where you can see all three mountain-building processes from one location, according to geologists at the Miami University of Ohio field station near Dubois. In the photo above, at right, you can see part of the range above Whiskey Basin, rises from a wonderful valley filled with lakes dug out by a glacier. There’s a splendid hike to a glacial lake isolated at the top.

The Absaroka mountains are volcanic (dumped by the massive Yellowstone eruption about 640,000 years ago), are easily visible from the western edge of the Overlook (not shown)Overlook7.

Here, in the third photo, you see in the distance the Owl Creek Mountains to the north and east, which are tectonic (the result of subsurface plates sliding over each other).

Behind you, looking to the south from the Overlook, you would see the long hump of the Wind River Range, which is sedimentary, rising behind the town. These mountains have  eroded over the ages from a time when this area was, incredibly, ocean floor.

I’m told you can still find marine fossils over there. Haven’t had time to investigate.

Overlook6From many vantage points on the Overlook, your closer view takes in these fabulous badlands. I’m always tempted to go sliding down one of these draws. (It’s difficult to envision a steady stroll down.)

Once in a while, if it’s hot, I’ll venture down a few yards to let the dog have a rest in the shade of a sagebrush plant. I never tire of seeing these magical formations.

Overlook2Last year Dubois Area Rails & Trails added a bike route up here. It was startling to see many new avenues where I used to blaze my own way. Haven’t seen many bikers up there yet, but I did see plenty of bike tracks as I walked the trail.

It’s intriguing to inspect the rocks dropped along the Overlook3trail over the millennia. Did this one sit at the bottom of an ancient ocean, or did a glacier drop it? I have no idea. Like so many other stones on so many paths in the Wind River Valley, it’s intriguing in its own right, however it got here. (Kinda like most of my neighbors, come to think of it.)

Overlook5One thing I’ve never observed here is quadrupeds, other than my faithful canine companion and other dogs brought up here for the chance to sniff around.

But evidently other mammals are here sometimes when we’re not.

The other exception, occasionally, is horses (as you can tell from the roadside sign below). The race course is on the second level, appropriately rustic and informal. The shack sells beer and hot dogs.

OverlookSign.
Want to read more about living in Dubois WY? You can read weekly updates via email using the link at the top of the right column.
© Lois Wingerson 2015

Dubois Love Letter #3: Best Internet Anywhere?

Only one highway runs through Dubois WY, and slowly. But another one, invisible, is very speedy. Accidents are exceedingly rare.

Living in one of the most remote towns in the United States has many advantages. One of them, incredible as it may seem, is virtually flawless Internet service. Here’s why.Dubois broadband

The picture at right shows Michael Kenney’s whimsical clothesline, made from really old telephone poles and transformers. It’s funny because Michael, who is the head of our local telephone company (DTE, for Dubois Telephone Exchange), is one of the most forward-thinking and progressive people I’ve ever met. In charge of a rural phone company, he long ago began to see beyond telephones.

Michael has been a prime mover in the national effort to bring broadband to rural areas. The golden thread I’m using to transmit these words right now is a shining example of his success.

The Internet service here is fast and reliable. We watch movies on Netflix all the time, virtually without interruption. I can’t remember when I last lost service while working on a website.

Before my retirement last June, I telecommuted from Dubois and from my home in New York City for 8 years. Working in the city was a nightmare, even though we used one of the largest Internet service providers, Time Warner Cable. Service would wink out unpredictably, and customer service reps (who obviously didn’t know Brooklyn from the Bronx from Bangalore) would apologize incessantly and ineffectively. They hadn’t a clue. I became a regular at the library and at Starbucks.

Dubois broadbandHere in Dubois, one Friday evening several years ago I ran into Michael at happy hour at the Rustic Pine Tavern. I mentioned to him that my Internet service had stopped at about 3:30 (no problem, because I worked on Eastern time and that was the end of the work week back in Norwalk).

“A backhoe ran over a cable in Cody,” Michael said. “It will be fixed in 3 hours.”

Michael’s minions spent last summer laying fiber optic cable over the pass, working right past our house. Now there are multiple redundancies, Michael told me recently. If our line fails, another one will kick in. These days, the Internet never kicks out.

By the way, DTE has been running a webcam for many years at the spot in the middle of Dubois where the highway hangs a right-angle turn. This is an easy way to get a quick feel for the other kind of traffic that passes through here (much more slowly). You can watch it at http://webcam.rangefamily.net/~dubois/ .

 

Want to read more about living in Dubois WY? You can read weekly updates via email using the link at the top of the right column.

© Lois Wingerson 2015

Joys of Dubois: Flying Sheets

Some days it seems a crime to turn on the dryer. FlyingSheets

But memo to self: Hang pillowcases before you hang the sheets, or the wind will grab the line away from you and you may never be able to reach it again.

Yesterday I stood for a looooooooong time waiting for the gusts to die down so that I could hang the rest of the load. Hair whips around your head and you have a moment of exhilaration in the middle of an ordinary day.

Later, from my desk, I could hear constant flapping in the wind. I could almost fantasize that I was offshore (wherever that is).

The baby-cheek softness isn’t there at bedtime, of course, but the outdoor fragrance is fabulous.

Meanwhile, I’ve had yet another reason to leave the desk and get outdoors.

Want to read more about living in Dubois WY? You can read weekly updates via email using the link at the top of the right column.

© Lois Wingerson 2015