Crossing Southern Wyoming

After leaving the Green River Valley, we drove east on Interstate 80 this morning, headed for our Littleton farm.  Between Rock Springs and Rawlins, Wyoming, we crossed some of the most desolate landscape in the country, covered by a rolling sage grasslands and broken by stark ridges of Cretaceous sandstone.  Lone cows, pronghorns and oil pumps appeared to be the only residents.  For geography buffs, such as myself, there was some reward offered by the topography: we crossed the Continental Divide twice, dipping through the Great Divide Basin.

As we approached Rawlins, a spectacular view of the Bighorn Range unfolded to the northeast and, once past that city, more interesting terrain began to appear.  Far to the south, the Sierra Madre of Colorado poked above the horizon and off to the ENE, Laramie Peak towered above its range.  Further along, we crossed the North Platte River and the massive bulk of Elk Mountain loomed along the south side of the highway, backed by the Snowy Range and more southern sections of the Medicine Bow Mountains.  With plenty of snowmelt from these peaks, the landscape lost its dull, dry appearance and numerous ponds and sloughs lined the Interstate, filled with waterfowl, white pelicans and phalaropes.

Beyond Laramie, we climbed across the broad ridge of the Laramie Range, which offered fabulous views of Rocky Mountain National Park to the south.  Finally, we descended into Cheyenne atop a Gangplank of Tertiary debris and turned south on the vehicle-clogged ribbon of Interstate 25.  We would be home, traffic permitting, in 90 minutes.