I went to a wilderness area for my birthday hike.

 WM3 21 17TPost

After about a one hour drive I arrived at the trading post. This is where the road to the wilderness starts at the highway. The trading post sells items of interest to tourists and travelers and has some historical information about the area.

WM3 21 17Chapel

A few miles of washboard paved road and I drove down a side dirt road to a historic chapel. I might go in there someday and ask about its history if visitors are welcome. Maps show the road going much farther into good hiking territory. I wanted to scout that but quickly found a gate noting it is restricted military property.

A few more miles of worse washboard dirt road I arrived at the campground. That was somewhat unpleasant. The camp area was much too developed and civilized. It was almost like a city park with many tables, roofed areas, etc. Also, there was a fee to enter. I was not going to pay a fee just to park my truck so I parked before the fee entry part. The campground is in National Forest land next to the wilderness where no structures or vehicles are allowed.

I liked the rustic campground it used to be. There was no fee then. There were places for tents, toilets, trash cans, a source of drinkable water and some picnic tables. I don't know if the water in the streams is safe to drink. Some places had metal barbecue grills while others had stones for campfires. The old campground attendant no longer works there. I met him in town several months earlier. He said he was made to resign after working and living there for more than 15 years. Quite a character. When visitors arrived he rode his small motorcycle to welcome them and determine if they were nice or trouble. He had many tales to tell. Once he was injured when he encountered a young bear. The bear hit him and he rolled down a hill breaking his arm.

The trash cans here and other campgrounds are bear resistant. They have latches designed so humans can figure out how to open them but bears won't. Bears are smart. They will figure it out and then a new puzzle latch is needed.

Clear water.

(Stream video here.)

I walked North from the truck and crossed this stream. Click to play the movie.

A view from above the campground.

Rocky parts of the mountains.

Here is a panorama of the mountains. Some patches of snow are visible at high elevation (est. 8500 to 9500 ft).

This is a large ranch next to the wilderness. I had intended to hike there but its fence has no trespassing signs. I might write to them to ask permission to hike on that land.

A sign.

I found a good location for this 360 degree panorama.

I rested and ate camp food (thanks Kim and everyone!). I saw a deer on the way back to my truck.

(Click the photos to see large ones. Especially the panoramas. Click them again if they don't fill your screen. Use the scroll bars to explore a panorama.)

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