Crossing the Bighorn Mountains

There are a few options to get across the Bighorn Mountains, and since our destination for the night was Powell, WY, we took the northernmost route. This took us west on US 14, up into the mountains. At Burgess Junction, we switched to Alt US 14 for the ride back down the other side.

Starting our climb up the hill toward the actual mountains on US 14.

Overlook looking back toward the east. Things were a little hazy.

Looking forward into the mountains. This is yet another place where the pictures don't show how big these mountains are.

A look back at the road we just took to get this far up the side of the mountain.

Nathan's view of the road we just climbed. [Bigger]

More Bighorns.

The road, by Nathan. [Bigger]

Looking back east from another impressive overlook. The climb here is dramatic. The rocks here give a clear indication of how the mountains were formed by huge slabs of rocks being thrust upward. Signs mark the age of the rock which was exposed in different areas when the mountains were formed. I think one said something like 2 billion years. That's a long time.

Nathan's camera's view of the same area. [Bigger]

This is known as (I think) the fallen city rock formation. Huge boulders have fallen into this valley over the years.

More mountains.

When we got to the top of the first round of mountains, we hit some road construction. And this was some major reconstructive work. It looks like they're either adding more lanes or completely relocating the highway through this area. For a few miles, we were on a very rough dirt road. In that area, a bull decided to walk around in the road. Nathan was able to get a few pictures. [Bigger]

The bull again. [Bigger]

By this time, we were looking almost directly into the setting sun to our west (and yes, a little north). So we stopped here to clean windshields and to take a look around. There was this nice mountain stream along side the road.

Nathan's picture of that stream. [Bigger]

Nathan got a nice picture from that same area. [Bigger]

When we got to Burgess Junction, we took a look at the mandatory truck warning area which included this sign. We have a long long way down.

That sign again. A 3600 foot drop in 10 miles is pretty amazing.

Between the junction and the downhill grade, we went through long stretches of open range area, and had to deal with lots of livestock walking in the road. Nathan got a picture. [Bigger]

Just before heading down the steep western side of the mountains, we stopped at the overlook at Observation Point. This was easily our highest elevation on the trip so far. We stayed here for a few minutes, but not for that long since it was getting pretty cold. About a mile before this, there was a moose off to the side of the road.

Here's the proof that it's pretty cold up here. There was still snow in places hidden from the sun and in places where it apparently drifts a lot.

Looking down into the Bighorn basin to our West. On the way down into this basin, we heated up our brakes nicely and spent a lot of time in lower gears to keep them from heating too much. They have runaway truck ramps and brake cooling areas very frequently.

Nathan got a good picture looking west from near the top. [Bigger]

Another Nathan picture. [Bigger]

And another. [Bigger]

A Nathan picture of the Saturn descending the Bighorns. [Bigger]

This was a very nice sunset, but unfortunately the picture didn't come out due to a floppy disk failure.

But Nathan's camera got one. [Bigger]
Copyright notice: All images are copyright © James D. Teresco unless otherwise specified. Unauthorized use is prohibited.