After driving across Thunder Basin we headed south and spent a night in one of the small county parks on the Alcova Reservoir south of Casper. The parks are primitive – vault toilets, no water – but decent enough. Some of the sites are right on the reservoir. There’s not much shelter or shade, so you’ll get to experience the Wyoming wind in all it’s glory. The county had just graveled and graded the roads and spurs, and seems to be doing more upgrades. The was only one other camper, so it was nice and quiet. We’d stop there again.
From Alcova we headed south and west through Flaming Gorge. We’d driven Route 191 through the gorge from south to north some years ago with pulling a camping trailer and didn’t think it was too bad. North to south (downhill) is a bit more challenging, especially at the end of a day’s drive. Semi-trucks and monster fifth-wheel camping trailers do it all the time. Nonetheless I’m glad we have a campervan with big brakes.
Dinosaur National Monument was our next home for a couple of days. The Monument encompasses the junction of the Green and Yampa rivers, both of which carve out canyons that expose geological formations and fossil beds.
We spent a long week here about eight years ago and enjoyed hiking and touring the area, hitting several trails near the visitor center, the Harpers Corner trail, and the box canyon trails near the Josie Morris cabin. We also drove down to Echo Park – probably the steepest high-clearance switchbacks I’ve ever attempted.
This time we spent a half day hiking in the box canyons at the Josie Morris cabin site and a half day hanging out in the campground doing nothing.
As an aside, when we were here eight years ago, it was my first big trip pulling a travel trailer. We’d tent camped on long road trips, but never with a camping trailer. Not knowing what to expect, I went off the rails packing. Four 6-gallon jugs filled with fresh water, just in case; three twenty-pound propane bottles, just in case; extra cans of gasoline, just in case; tire chains (in the month of May), just in case; two spare trailer tires, just in case; and what turned out to be a three-year supply of toilet paper, just in case.
We pack lighter now.
We’re still heading towards the San Rafael Swell. Next stop – Huntington, Utah.