The 284 mile trip from Jackson to Casper took us from the mountains of the Grand Tetons over to the center of Wyoming and its sagebrush plains over rolling hills. It took almost six hours but wasn't a bad trip overall. I did make a couple of wrong turns or it would only have been 276 miles. Before leaving Gros Ventre we were treated to a sighting of a large bull moose in the campground. I have included a few pictures of it. That did delay our departure about an hour!
We are staying at Fort Caspar Campground and have a full hookup pull-through with 50 amps, cable, pay WiFi, good Verizon, and a clear shot to the satellite. It's nothing but a large gravel lot but the sites are a little large than normal and are very long. It is next to the Fort Caspar Historical Site which we will visit while we are here.
Tuesday, the 16th, we headed for Douglas, WY and the Wyoming State Fair - about 50 miles away. We had originally planned to spend a week there but are glad we changed our plans and saw Grand Tetons while Misty was with us. Even though it is a state fair, it is small and doesn't have any major entertainment until the last weekend when we will not be here. I did include a couple of pictures but not really a lot to take pictures of.
After getting back to the campground we decided to hike around the river walk adjacent to the campground which is located on the North Platte River. There is a large treed and grassy area between the campground and the river and it was full of mule deer. Lots of pictures are included.
Wednesday, we went to the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
just outside Casper. It has to be one of the best historic centers we have ever been to - well worth your time. The Oregon Trail, California Trail, Mormon Trail and the Pony Express all followed the North Platte River through Casper and this center does an excellent job of explaining each and their contribution to the country's expansion West.
We next went to the Werner Wildlife Museum
which again was outstanding. It has very good specimens of a great many animals from throughout the world though most are from the Western USA. Each animal had a display that told you about the animal's physical characteristics, where they are found, and some tidbit that makes that one different form others. Especially interesting was the Pronghorn Antelope display. We had seen many of these in our travels, at least 200 on our trip to Douglas the previous day, but this was our first display that gave us information on this unique animal. They are officially Antilocapra americana
and are the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae. During the Pleistocene period, 12 antilocaprid species existed in North America. About 5 existed when humans entered North America 13,000 years ago; all but A. americana are now extinct. By the 1920s, hunting pressure had reduced the Pronghorn population to about 13,000. Protection of habitat and hunting restrictions have allowed their numbers to recover to an estimated population of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 though fences and other restrictions on their migratory range are starting to reduce their numbers. They are the fastest animal in North America and the second fastest in the world with the cheetah being faster. Their speed is enhanced by enlarged lungs, heart and windpipe to facilitate oxygen exchange and they also have bones that weight about 2/3s of humans along with hollow hair to reduce their weight. Though they are slower than the cheetah they can run at full speed much longer than the cheetah.
Then, we went to the Fort Caspar Museum
which was established to protect the settlers as they traversed the trails West, especially as they crossed the North Platte in the area. You may have noticed I have used Casper and Caspar throughout this entry. The fort and town were named after Lt. Caspar Collins who was stationed there and killed by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors while escorting a small military wagon train across the bridge. The fort was named after his first name since Ft. Collins in Colorado had already been named after his father. The town misspelled his name Casper when it was named and it was never changed.
We came back to the Mothership for a couple of hours before taking Misty to the airport to catch her plane back to Maryland. It has been really nice having her with us the last 10 days but time flew too fast and it was time for her return.
Tomorrow we head for Estes Park, CO, just outside the Rocky Mountain National Park, where we will stay for a week seeing the park and just relaxing.