Exploring the surprising town of Sheridan, Wyoming, and the stunning Bighorn National Forest.
By Julie Gant
Sheridan, Wyoming, and Stunning Bighorn National Forest
A Much Needed Rest
Last I wrote, we’d been in Laramie, Wyoming, visiting the amazing Medicine Bow National Forest. From there we moved on to Sheridan, Wyoming.
Sheridan was a last minute change in our route and the RV parks were booked through July 15th, so we had to drive up on a Monday and take a day off work. Come to find out, Sheridan is a very popular place! Throughout the summer, they have tons of events and July is packed with 4th of July celebrations, a rodeo, a beer festival, a pow wow, the Big Horn Mountain Festival, a tournament of knights, and more! Here’s their calendar in case you want to attend (or avoid) a specific festival.
We stayed at Peter D’s RV Park, which doesn’t have many amenities; but it does have decent spaces, a super clean laundry and bathrooms, and a very friendly owner (Peter) whose wife hands out vegies from her garden. It’s surrounded by hills on two sides giving you pretty views while being close to town.
For the most part, we spent our first couple of weeks there recovering from the move and settling into the 5th wheel. We worked, shopped (found a decent alternative natural/health food store), and had dinner out at a place called Frackleton’s, which was wonderful! It’s sort of a less expensive (compared to Seattle) fine dining experience. We also, as you know, finally got the video tour up for the 5th wheel.
Sheridan had some high temps while we were there too (90+ most of the time.) Frankly, we were so tired of being hot that we just wanted to do nothing – and that’s exactly what we did. We sat on the couch most of that first Sunday, and after work the first couple of weeks, binge-watching The Umbrella Academy and The Final Table or catching up on our YouTube videos. I think, too, that we were both so stressed from the move and driving with the cats in the truck that we just needed a week to rest and relax – no touristy stuff, just quiet time.
The Bighorn National Forest
We were feeling better our second weekend in Sheridan, so we finally ventured out to the Bighorn National Forest. We didn’t go too far into it, but drove about an hour west on Highway 14 to Burgess Junction. Well, really, first we got messed up in some construction and drove north longer than we should have until we realized something was wrong. We had to drive a bit more and finally were able to turn around just past the “Welcome to Montana” sign. Oops!
~Stand by for a poetic interlude.~
Butterflies flitting, crickets lifting up, damselflies leading the way.
Stone people standing strong, standing ones giving me breath,
flowers waving in the wind.
~We now return to our regular blog.~
The geology in the Bighorn Mountains was awesome! We loved that (the state? the local university? random people?) had posted signs on Highway 14 letting people know what period the rock is from or explaining more about the formations. The two I liked the most were the thrust fault/syncline (third pic with the V’d rock layer) and the Fallen City (the fourth pic.) The thrust fault/syncline formation was caused by pressure forcing the rock up. Fallen City is so-named because people felt the limestone blocks looked like the ruins of an old city. The last pic is Steamboat Rock. Do you think every state has a steamboat rock? I wouldn’t be surprised!
A Visit with a Great Friend
Toward the end of our second week in Sheridan, our good friend, Don, chatted to say he’d like to come visit. He was on a road trip that would end close enough to the area that he was going to add us to his route. Awesome! Don and Brian used to work together, and we all have a lot in common; so we were thrilled to spend time with him! He was in Sheridan for four days of excellent conversation and great food (we returned to Frackleton’s and also found the amazing bistro, Birch.) We wondered how such a small town had at least two high quality restaurants. It turns out Sheridan is home to the Wyoming Culinary Institute! Who knew?
Don and I took a day and drove out to the Bighorn Medicine Wheel. This was a little farther than Brian and I like to be from the cats (about 90 minutes), so I was super-excited that Don wanted to check it out. I’m sorry that Brian had to stay home, though I am so grateful I was able to visit this amazing place while in the area. It’s been on my bucket list for several years and who knows when we’d have the chance again?
The Bighorn Medicine Wheel
For those who don’t know, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel is a sacred space about 10,000 feet up where Native people still hold ceremony. We weren’t allowed into the Wheel itself, but could walk around the exterior and see inside. I sang some songs and gave an offering. Don did his own thing (which is his story.) The views up there are breathtaking! The walk itself is worth it (take it slow if you need to) just for the inspiring landscape.
Out of respect for the sacredness of the space, I’ll share these photos of the views and part of the hike to the Medicine Wheel, but not any of the actual Wheel itself. If you want to hear more about the Medicine Wheel and my experience there, feel free to email or chat me. And, Don? Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
As a teen, I visited the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, both of which I thought were amazing and cool (respectively.) Now I’ve seen part of Eastern Wyoming and feel the same about it – maybe add inspiring and breathtaking. If you’ve left Wyoming off your bucket list, you’re truly missing out. Of all the states I’ve been to (most of them), Wyoming stands out as a big favorite.
Next in our “Catch-Up” series – Billings, Montana, and the beginning of the end for the 5th wheel.
Thanks for joining us as we live our journey…