Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Jack and Vedauwoo

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in Southeastern Wyoming. Although it is lesser known than other magnets for the off-road set, such as Moab or Fruita or Durango, for me it is prime mountain bike country with plentiful trails, amazing vistas and a lot fewer users than more famous areas. As an undergrad many years ago, I had an array of amazing trails in nearly any direction only a short distance from my door. Among my favorites were the Happy Jack and Vedauwoo recreation areas just East of Laramie. In the intervening years since graduation, I have only visited intermittently and rarely with a bike. I hope for that to change.

We took a nearly spur-of-the-moment camping trip with a goal of introducing our girl to some of the aforementioned sites. Although only she had a bike along for this trip, Julie and I enjoyed revisiting old places and hiking around the unique wind and water eroded rock formations at Vedauwoo. The experience made me realize that in not too long, she will be ready for some simple off-road riding. Even during the short excursion, she was starting to master some of the fundamentals of fun on two wheels while off the pavement. She gained some experience with the unpredictability of riding on the pea-gravel granite surface of a forest road and enjoyed the sensation of riding on an undulating bed of pine needles and forest debris.

Forest floor: squishier than concrete
Our girl is a natural when it comes to camping. She loves everything from the rustic food to picking wildflowers to scrambling up rocks, but especially the opportunity to get absolutely grubby with glorious impunity. She eats up the outdoor experience with relish, always wanting more.

Beanie weenies cooking on a 50+ year old Coleman model 425B camp stove
Getting the coals ready for post-ride marshmallows
Enjoying the wonders of optical illusion
This trip has spawned many ideas. I am developing plans to do some test S24O camping on the Big Dummy in the near future to combine several well-enjoyed activities. I may also have to build up a bike with 16 inch wheels more suitably equipped for off-road riding. Those who know me will already realize that I'll probably enthusiastically overdo both.


  1. "get absolutely grubby with glorious impunity"

    Wonderful! But where's your cowboy shirt?

    And, what a cool Dad.

  2. Yeah, I was sorta proud of that line. It sums up the situation pretty well. She giggles with delight if she's told her feet are filthy.

    My cowboy shirt doesn't appear in any of these photos, although I was wearing it a bit later when the sun went down. The temp drops quickly in the evening at 8,500 feet. It's sure to make an appearance soon.

    Thanks for considering me as being cool. I figure I'm in contention for being cool from a kid perspective for another 5 to 8 years, so I'll make the most of it.