Casper, Thermopolis, and Brooks Lake

From Wheatland I headed to Casper, stopping in Douglas for lunch.  They have a city park with overnight RV parking allowed on the banks of the North Platte River.  It was too early to stop for the day so I kept on to Casper.  The highway in central Wyoming is really boring, about like driving through west Texas.  But, I had “This American Life” podcasts on my Ipod playing through my new dash radio.  So, it wasn’t a bad drive.  I planned to go to Stalkups RV in Casper for some parts, then go up to a county park on Casper Mountain where it would be cool.  I’d rather be at elevation with windows open than parked cheek-by-jowls in a commercial RV park in town with A/C running.  Personal preference.  The drive up the mountain was steep and windy, but eventually I was up there driving through the campground looking for a suitable site.  There really weren’t many folks there.  I saw just one RV and a few cars parked with guys just sitting in them.  Most of the sites were small and unlevel.  It just seemed creepy, so I decided to go back down the mountain and find someplace else to stay.  I tried not to think of how many gallons of gas I just wasted going up, then down the mountain.  I did need to go by Walmart, so I just decided to stay there overnight.  RVers stay at Walmarts all the time, but I hadn’t yet.  It was a little noisy, but fine.

North Platte River in Douglas

On the way back down Casper Mountain. It is steep.

The next morning I got my oil changed, then stopped for gas and propane on the way out of town, heading to Thermopolis.  There is a state park there with hot springs.  Supposed to be good soaking, and I had never had a dip in hot springs.  The propane guy gave me the name of an RV park with their own hot springs pool.  Seemed like a good place to stay.  I would need electric hookups for A/C and needed to do laundry.  When I got there I checked in and parked.  If I had paid attention I would have noticed it didn’t look like a nice place.  It wasn’t well kept up, and the laundry room hadn’t been cleaned recently.  I need to remember to drive through and inspect before setting on an RV park.  Oh well, I did get my laundry done, and had a soak or 2.

The drive to and from Thermopolis is through the Wind River Canyon.  It’s a really nice drive, and I wished I wasn’t driving so I could have enjoyed it more.

Wind River Canyon

Wind River Canyon

From there it was on to Dubois and then Brooks Lake Campground.  Brooks Lake was a location I saw RVSue visit a few months before.  I remember showing Sue’s posts/pictures to my folks on my Ipad, saying I wanted to visit a pretty place like that on my travels.  Since it was on the way to Yellowstone/Tetons I would have the chance.  The road to Dubois runs along the Wind River and there was interesting rock formations, too.  At one point we had to stop for a cattle round up crossing the road.  As we passed I noticed they were cowGIRLS herding the cattle.  Giddy-up!!   I stopped at the visitor center in town and the Shoshone Forest office to get info on the forest and fires in the area.  (There were a couple of fires, but not where I would be going.)  Forest road 515 gains about 2,000 feet elevation to 9,200 feet, and is about 5 miles of washboard road.  I really did not enjoy the road to the campground.  But, when I got up there it was really pretty and worth the drive.  The good sites in the main loop by the lake were taken so I drove up a small hill on a spur where there were 3 more sites.  They had recently cut down dead or dying trees and left the wood for campers to use.  There was a nice stack of wood at my site!

Brooks Lake Site

Brooks Lake

On one side of the lake was The Pinnacles and the other side had the Breccia Cliffs.  There was a fire past the lake and the smoke makes interesting sunset color on the Pinnacles.  There was also a trail leading from the lake that is part of the Continental Divide Trail.

Start of Trail and Breccia Cliffs. Across the lake is smoke from the fire.

Pinnacles at Sunset

I got to talking to the Richard, the Camphost.  He said there was a trail branching off that went to Jade Lake, a really beautiful lake.  He had seen a bear in the area, so lent me his bear spray for the hike Riley and I would take the next day.  It was a pretty hike, longer than I thought, and when I got to the lake I was really disappointed.  It seemed really small and unimpressive.  But the sign said Jade Lakes, so maybe there would be another if I kept walking.  After a bit more walking there was still no 2nd lake.  Some folks came walking along and said yes, it was just a little way further.  It was truly a storybook looking lake, so I’m glad we kept walking.

Jade Lake

At Jade Lake

We stayed 3 nights.  On the last night some women pulled up to the site next to me, several women, several trucks.  Turns out they were having a bachelorette party for their friend that works at the fancy lodge/dude ranch next door.  I had seen a cowgirl herding some horses on the trail a day or 2 before, and she was the guest of honor.  It seemed quite ‘Wyoming’ to have a campout bachelorette party.

The next day was Saturday, September 1st, time to head out to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.  I would take highway 26 over the Continental Divide at Togwotee Pass, through Moran Junction and then to Jackson, as I needed gas and groceries.  Then we would visit Tetons, getting to Yellowstone after Labor Day (when hopefully the crowds would be smaller).

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2 thoughts on “Casper, Thermopolis, and Brooks Lake

  1. I am really enjoying all your beautiful pictures of the scenery around you. I just figured out how to sign up to get an email notice when you post a new blog. Our ISP has been down for 2 days and just came back up and I was so glad because when George and family were here this weekend they told me that you had put up a new one, but I couldn’t see it until the internet came up again. sigh
    love, mom

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