When I left off (having visited the Palouse and Idaho), I had stopped somewhere in Utah or Idaho for the night. In fact, I was tired and just stopped for a few hours sleep in a rest area off the freeway. When I awoke, I started heading east into Wyoming on a warm morning with lots of puffy white clouds. Before I’d been driving for long, I ran into a wind farm alongside the freeway. The sky was threatening rain, but I thought that I might as well stop and at least take a few photos for stock. I spent an hour or two moving from one group of towers to another, getting rained on, waiting for light to peek through the clouds, and moving to another group of windmills. The results were not exactly exciting, but they were pretty solid.
I kept driving, stopped for lunch, and drove a bit more… and then to the north of the freeway, I spotted some interesting hills: bare, like giant mounds of mud, but with interesting gorges and gullies formed by erosion. I found a little dirt road that wound back to them, and as I got closer, I found that they were even more interesting. Along the most exposed ridges of the hills were small hoodoos… small ridges and towers of rock, left behind by the erosion of thinner fins.
Of course, I had to climb the hills. I took photos on the way up, and upon my arrival at the summit of the first hilltop, I discovered two things: first, if I stopped moving for more than a few moments, I was swarmed by ants (actually, they were winged-ants… termites, I suppose), and second, there was another thunderstorm brewing on the horizon. This time, not only was I on the highest peak for 50 miles or more (with my trusty Slik aluminum tripod… did I mention that it’s about time to upgrade to a REAL tripod?), there were no power lines or windmills nearby to tempt the lightning bolts away from me. And it was starting to drizzle. So, I quickly took a few photos. Despite the fact that I’d hauled the tripod up with me, I hand-held most of the shots, which was silly… I should have taken the time to compose a few nice ones with the tripod before my descent. My real concern was that if the cracked dirt surface of the hills were to get wet, it would turn into a giant slip-and-slide, and I’d wind up down at my car again in record time and fewer straight lines in my limbs.
Luckily, the rain held off, and I scrambled back down to my car without incident. I was probably 30 miles away before the rain began to really pour, and I was glad that I’d be in Colorado by nightfall.
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