Chasing the Totality

Days 8-11: Guernsey State Park

Below Rabbit Ears we headed north on CO 14, climbing into the Medicine Bow Range and then crossing into Wyoming. We had planned to camp somewhere in this sector, but changed our minds when we saw the condition of the forest. Bark beetles have attacked virtually every tree for miles in every direction, and once pristine campgrounds were either shorn of vegetation or spiked with dead timber looking for a place to fall down.

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Dennis and I deployed no fewer than five cameras — some shooting video of eclipse, some video of the surrounding area, and others used for still photos and snapshots.

In the end, the most interesting photography was of US watching the eclipse!

The Wandering Hermit, a terrific combination bookstore/coffee shop, and headed west into the mountains.

Palmer Canyon Road is a narrow ribbon of gravel that winds its way high into the Snowy Range. Pretty country, but although this area is part of Medicine Bow National Forest, once again every single side road was posted, gated and locked. How is it that ranchers not graze their cattle at bargain basement rates but also create private, gated fiefdoms on what appears to public land?

On and on we rolled, dropping down out of the mountains into high, open, empty grassland. For hours, all we saw was the narrow ribbon of gravel in front of us — not a house, driveway nor any sign of human habitation. And then, as dusk descended, the land fell away to an impossibly wide, treeless plain, eerily occupied by a large body of water with the strange moniker, "Wheatland Reservoir #3. There was primitive camping along the shore, in howling wind, clouds of bugs swirling overhead, and nothing taller than a blade of grass as far as the eye could see. Did we somehow land in Siberia?

Next: Flaming Gorge