Seen from Moose, Wyoming, Mt. Moran is a
lonely pillar, covered with an early coat of snow on this late fall day.
The aspen still hold their fall colors, but it is clear that they cannot
hold on much longer - winter will have it's way. Drifting snow has
already started to bury the fences, a process that will continue until
they disappear altogether until the following spring.
Winter in Bondurant, Wyoming means an
average snowfall of 240 inches, which slowly settles into a dense,
hard-packed sheet, four feet thick, that will support a wagon and team by
late spring. In the early days ranchers drove their teams across the
snow to an occasional party to relieve the boredom of the long winter
months. The only caveat - return home in the early hours, before the
morning sun began to soften the snow pack.
Four feet of snow bury this antique car, which sits parked in front of a
turn-of-the-century board shed in Bondurant, Wyoming. Despite
thirty-below weather, this sturdy vehicle was still operable, with a few
minutes of shoveling to clear the hood and driver's side door, by
inserting a fully-charged battery, pulling out the choke on the dashboard,
and then inserting the hand crank through the front grill, turning the
crank through a dozen turns, and waiting for that muffled, spasmodic
choking sound that signaled the engine firing up again. I used this
car, which, custom-made for the United States Forest Service, had a one
yard square pickup bed and tailgate mounted where the trunk should be, to
carry trash to the back of the property for disposal.
Driving west from Laramie, Wyoming, toward
the town of Centennial which lies nestled in the foothills of the Snowy
Range, the traveler passes rail crossing signs like this one, the only
visible "trees" to break the flat monotony of miles of grassland and
sagebrush prairies. One of many railroad crossings along the Union
Pacific tracks that stretch from Omaha all the way to the west coast, this
automated crossing sign warns the occasional vehicle with blinking lights
and a loud bell whenever a train approaches.
Orin Robinson Ranch II
When winter arrives in the basin of Bondurant, Wyoming sometime in
November, it settles in for a long time. Not until the following
April or May will the deep snow finally disappear. Four feet on the
level is the norm, and "cabin fever" is to be expected.
Ranch, South Park, Jackson, Wyoming
Leaving Jackson, Wyoming toward the Hoback
Junction a few miles away, you drive past scenic South Park, once the home
of cattle ranches nestled in groves of cottonwood trees along the Snake
River. On a cold winter's day, the bare branches are coated with
ice, which reflects the early hues of a winter's dawn.
The landscape near Veedauwoo campground east of Laramie, Wyoming, contains
unusual rock formations and repeating ridges that make for magical images.
This near-sunset view focuses on a lone tree struggling to survive in its
Orin Robinson Ranch, Bondurant, Wyoming
Buried deep in winter snows, this old
cattle ranch weathers another day of thirty-below bone-chilling cold and
waits for the warmth of Spring to bring life back into this high mountain
Wyoming: Kirk Ramsey Watercolors
Copyright © 2010 Kirk S. Ramsey
March 11, 2016