An Ancient Marine Scene

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My husband and me on our four-wheeler in the Bighorns

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.

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My daughter standing under the coral natural bridge

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.

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A sunset begging to be photographed in the Bighorns.

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This curious doe stood about 12 feet from our camper as I made supper the first evening in camp.

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.

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Our granddaughter found a perfect spot to read. The kids loved sharing and swinging in this hammock.

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.

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Our grandson came to look for me as I (in granny mode my bro-in-law said) took off on a four-wheel trek by myself, moseying along in low gear, enjoying the sights and smells.

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.

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15 Responses to An Ancient Marine Scene

  1. What a great way to escape 100-degree temperatures.

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  2. That sounds incredible. Love the photos. I’ve never been to the Bighorn Mountains. The smoked moose roast sounds yummy!

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  3. Wranglers says:

    From the posts, it seems many WW&W are camping or exploring. I’m still getting to make my way to our FL house, after one more surgery maybe I’ll make it. I think this sounds like a place to add to my Bucket List. Sounds heavenly and I love seeing and exploring things made over the years. Cher’ley

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Definitely beautiful and peaceful in the Bighorns. Lots of places to camp and trails to explore. And awesome natural sights and wonders. Our son-in-law knows them all I think and is a wonderful guide. Hopefully you will get there some day and be blessed as we are.

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  4. Doris says:

    I love that area. The Medicine Wheel has been a fascination of mine for years. I agree, what a great place to unwind with those you love. Doris

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Glad you got to see that. Those mountains were well occupied by native Americans years ago. We found a site where they obviously honed arrow heads one year. The mountains are peaceful and inspirational at the same time.

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  5. Mike Staton says:

    The mountains, wildlife and a hammock tied between trees… what’s there not to like in this vacation? I liked how you described the mountains as inspirational.

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  6. I’ve never been camping in the mountains, but it’s on my bucket list. I can see and hear through your eyes as you narrate – what a lovely trip! Camping relaxes you and puts you in another state of mind, if only for a weekend!

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  7. wyoauthor1 says:

    Glad you had such an enjoyable time, Neva. Your descriptions were so vivid and your adventures so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your special place and your amazing time with us!

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  8. katewyland says:

    What a great time, and so nice your family could join you. We love camping in our Sierras–they’re so beautiful. We rode in the Big Horns a little bit, but didn’t get too high or too far in. Maybe next time.

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  9. Nancy Jardine says:

    That sound so fabulous, Neva. I’d love to do something like this. I also fancy the bike riding. 🙂 Glad you had a great time.

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  10. Travis says:

    I really enjoyed the tone and writing of this piece Neva. Fun and buoyant. I’ve never been to the Bighorn’s but I want now.

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  11. S J Brown says:

    Yes, Wyoming has moved up a few spaces on our trip list.

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