Fifteen minutes’ drive west of Dubois, you are hiking in high alpine forest.
The scent of sage mixes with the fragrance of pine. The air is so cool you may need an extra layer in midsummer.
Your eyes behold the most beautiful color combination in nature: sagebrush and lupine.
You’re only a few miles from the Continental Divide here.
Just a mile or two east of this spot the spectacular red-rock badlands begin. They rise stunningly over the center of town, and continue to a long distance to the the east, standing above the valley like a vast array of monuments.
From a distance they look like solid rock, but up close you find that they are slowly dissolving sand. My husband calls them “melting ice-cream,” in geologic terms.
These hikers have just completed a hot and dry hike up Mason’s Draw and back, stopping often to give the dogs (and themselves) a drink of water.
Where they turned back at the top of the draw, it seemed as silent as the back side of the moon, except for the breeze.
Here you see the kinds of flowers that dominate in one landscape (left) and the other, just a short drive away (right).
Lucky tourists stumble on our charming parade. Some folks travel a long way on purpose to see it.
The thing to do on July 4 in Dubois is to catch the parade, which must rival any in the United States for charm and originality.
Another thing to do is find a spot under an awning, or bring an umbrella. The volunteer firefighters come by near the end of the event to offer a refreshing shower — or a moment of embarrassment for the unprepared.
The parade is a lucky find for visitors who happen to be in Dubois that week. But some out-of-towners travel quite a distance on purpose, just to experience it.
We met some people from Cody who had come to Dubois just to catch the parade. They said that to get a decent viewing spot in Cody you have to stake out your location days ahead.
This is the moment we have waited for! The dog and I set off west up the highway towards the Sheridan Creek area, just inside the Shoshone National Forest. Here is the alpine high-mountain forest region of the local ecosystem. A few minutes back down the highway, we could be clambering around in red-rock badlands. That’s for another day …
Today we’ll do an easy hike, just up the main road. Mustn’t push myself, only one day after I have returned to 7.500 feet above sea level.
Oh, no! What’s that heading in from the southwest? Ominous; there’s thunder.
Drat! We turn back towards the car.
Partway back, I turn around. What’s this?
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