Atlantic City

There aren’t any casinos in this Atlantic City, Indian or otherwise. Nor is there any pricey oceanfront property. This is Atlantic City, Wyoming.

The good will ambassador I met when I first arrived in Wyoming last week (the “crazy old man” at the Welcome Center in Pine Bluffs) had told me about this place and based on what he said I was expecting a ghost town, like I had seen in western Nevada. When I had looked at the map before heading out to the Wyss campus yesterday I noticed that Atlantic City was further out Route 28 so I thought I’d take a drive out to check it out. My nephew Sam knew about it too and said “Oh no, not deserted. People still live there”.

I continued driving on Route 28 past Red Canyon and the road climbed to just over 8,000 feet in elevation (high enough that there was snow off the sides of the road in protected areas away from the sun’s rays). The temperature was 62 degrees, about 10 degrees below what it would be when I got back into town.

I drove about 2 1/2 miles down a well maintained dirt road (as was Red Canyon Road) and sure enough, found little Atlantic City.

I drove a little further into town and the signage told the story of when this was a gold mining town and had a brief boom period. The town “boasted of beer breweries and one of Wyoming Territory’s first public schools”. Those good times were short-lived, however, and despite two revival attempts with newer mining technology it never relived it’s glory days.

There was a brochure rack with a flyer about a self-guided walking tour of the town but I think I will see if Stephen and Jen (or Sam) have been here yet and maybe bring them with me when I come back another time.

As I was driving back to Route 28 I saw evidence of some kind of mining off to the left of the dirt road I was on:

As best I can tell from the maps, the snow covered mountain in the distance is probably Wind River Peak, elevation 13,192 and at the southern end of the Wind River range. The other nearby mountains on the map are below the apparent snow line.

Further on down the road…

After I left the Wyss Campus on Thursday, Sam suggested that I turn right instead of left at the bottom of the driveway and continue further out Red Canyon Road, the dirt road which took me to the Wyss Campus from Route 28.

First, a photo I had taken from out on Route 28 as I was getting further and further lost before our meeting (I was already past the turnoff for Red Canyon Road when I took this. In fact, Red Canyon Road, which I was supposed to be on, is visible up on a hill in the upper right hand side of the photo below).

I was intrigued by the deep canyon in the distance.

You will see other photos of it shortly. From local brochures and maps I knew it wasn’t Red Canyon, which you will also see shortly. I asked Sam about it and he said that as far as he knows it doesn’t have a name. I think I might know what it is after having gotten a little closer to it.

Anyway, when I turned right at the bottom of the driveway here are some of the things I saw:

Once I got down to the little bridge you see in the photo above I had a closer view of the deep canyon I had seen from out on Route 28:

I drove further down Red Canyon Road until I reached a private residence and decided to turn around. There are two ways in to Red Canyon and Sam had told me that neither one is suitable for my Nissan Altima.

That little bridge, which I was standing on when I took the photo above, crosses the Little Popo Agie River.

My theory is that the river carved that deep canyon after flowing down from the top of the mountain over a gazillion years or so. The force of moving water is a powerful thing.

Once I finished my drive on this portion of Red Canyon Road I turned right on Route 28 to retrace my steps from earlier in the day and visit another site which Sam had told me about.

When I got further away from Lander on Route 28 there was a scenic overlook off to the right side of the highway. The elevation at that overlook is 6,975 feet and this was the view below. THIS is Red Canyon:

And to put the size into perspective, if you zoom in to the upper third of the first photo you will see a white tractor-trailer traveling on Route 28 which passes above the red rock cliff.

Petroglyph Hill

After my nephew Sam had taken me on my personal tour of NOLS’s Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus on Thursday he led me on a short hike up to “Petroglyph Hill”, a short distance from the main building and at the northwest edge of NOLS’s 242 acre property.

Here is a 3 shot panorama, left-to-right, of where we were headed. Sam tried to talk me into using the panorama feature of my new iPhone but I will need to experiment with it first before I put it to use.

And here is my trusty tour guide, Sam, who patiently waited for me when I was 30 minutes late arriving and then spent 2 1/2 hours on his partial day off to show me around. Thanks, Sam!!

That black canister on his belt is Bear Spray, which Sam calls “pepper spray on steroids”. I bought a can up in Riverton on Tuesday and it was on the outside of my backpack, though I will start using the belt holster to strap it on my belt, just like Sam. I am supposed to take it with me anywhere I go outside (in the wild, not downtown Lander!) as there are bears, mountain lions, coyotes, wolves and other critters lurking out there. There is a plastic “safety” clip to prevent accidental discharge and knowing JohnBoy as well as I do, if something can go wrong it will, so it will stay affixed until such time as I need to spray something! Who knows, perhaps another amusing JohnBoy story in the making….

I have seen petroglyphs in other parts of the country during my travels but I always find them interesting. I always wonder what was going through the person’s mind to want them make a lasting image. Some are drawings and others are actually carved into the rock. I’ve tried to eliminate the modern day entries which are nothing more than vandalism and graffiti (I know what was going through those people’s minds…). There is a place for creative expression (i.e. murals or art exhibits) but not on rock formations or other public places in our National Parks and elsewhere which takes away from their natural beauty.