by Neva Bodin
I have recently had a Rocky Mountain high…up in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. Twelve days in a camper surrounded by birdsong, pungent pine scent, cool nights, warm sun, and tangy campfire smoke, cradled by pines on the edge of a meadow.
The Bighorns are full of history: Indian battles, Bomber Peak, the Medicine Wheel and more. The beauty is fantastic, and the four-wheeling trails tame to challenging. My husband’s brother comes from North Dakota, one daughter and family from 165 miles from us but only 45 miles from our campsite. Our other daughter and friend followed us as the pickup labored to pull our camper up and over elevations over 1.5 miles high in places. Peaks in the Bighorns are over 13,000 feet, awesome to look at.
The mountains are made of sedimentary rock formed in marine environments. Areas are billed as over 370 million years old. There is a natural bridge made of coral. On a mountain no less. The numerous rocks in the area are dimpled and unlike any rocks I have seen on a mountain before. They are made of ancient coral.
In the past, in another area of the Bighorns, we’ve visited dinosaur tracks, and seen ant hills decorated with tiny star shaped marine animals dredged up from deep in the mountain by the tiny feet of ants. That mountain is made of innumerable bits of sea shells.
Any mountain is a wondrous place for me, but the Bighorns with all my family around me, is the next thing to heaven. We eat like kings, (or should I say pigs), eat breakfast to birdsong, and play hard-to-get with campfire smoke, watch sunsets. The steaks, wieners, hamburgers, smoked moose roast, bacon, sausage, chili etc. were wonderful. Fresh mountain air enhanced every flavor.
Curious posing deer, a prickly porcupine, a Snowshoe rabbit, and elk were sighted, while hummingbirds and camp robbers, amongst many other birds, hopped or flew through our campsite. Chipmunks explored the vehicles and trailers.
Squirrels chirp-chatted at us. One ran up the tree I sat by playing my harmonica one evening and chirped in perfect rhythm to Spanish Eyes. He might have been complaining about my sitting in his kitchen, (the base of the tree was piled high with shelled pine cones), but I prefer to think he was singing.
The bawls of cows and calves bounced off the pine trees as they lost each other in the forest and meadow gulches and canyons, and a nearby forest fire suspected to be started by a careless driver tossing a cigarette butt was nearby, but not close enough for danger. A few flies and mosquitoes vied for attention of course too.
Our twelve year old grandson loved having his own transportation this year–a dirt bike.
Temps were in 60’s with warm sun during day, 30-40’s at night. It was great. And spiritually renewing. The business and busyness of my life was suspended for a time—and I am deeply grateful.