The variables lined up for a winter camping adventure: sunny 40 degree days, nights around freezing, and low wind speeds. The winds while driving were actually much higher than expected–35 mph gusts on I-25. However, I did not know that when we took off, so I learned what those wind speeds are like when pulling the camper. Truthfully, not a big deal. Now I know and I am glad for the learning experience.

Anyway, Kerry (son), a 4th grade friend of ours, Maggie (son’s dog), Tango (my dog) and I headed out to Curt Cowdy State Park, near Cheyenne. The lake was frozen solid and we saw a number of ice fishermen:


Ice fishermen. The human shadow in front of the dark fishing hut is me,up on a cliff, taking the photo.


We took two hikes. The first day, the trail was up high, along the top of a canyon. At one point, heavy chains were attached to the rock. We had to hang onto the chains–like a stair railing– to pass through. This was especially exciting with the snow on the trail and the frozen lake waaaay down below.

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My guys!

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Snowy trail – I am lagging behind, with camera and binoculars around my neck!


Although the ice fishermen were out, we were the only campers. I picked a site with electricity so we could plug in the heated mattress pads. The guys and dogs slept in the two side beds, and I slept on converted dinette bed (next to the heater).


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At peace: sunrise over frozen lake

We played a bit on the ice in the morning!

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Along the way home, we saw 4 Rough-Legged Hawks, soaring. I have long suspected Rough-Legged Hawks in that area but never got a good look at their tail markings until this trip. Confirmed: a new bird for the “life list”. I could not get a photo but here is one from online:


Every winter I see the light morph shown above, perched just like this on fence posts along I- 25, north of Cheyenne, around mile marker 30. On this day, we saw the dark versions soaring, between mile markers 25 and 55. Amazing fact about these birds: Wyoming is their balmy winter home. They spend summers breeding on the Arctic Tundra.

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