Monday, August 22, 2011

Adventure beckons...

the minute you drive off the pavement east of Yellowtail Reservoir, Wyoming, following gravel roads with challenging 4WD upgrades.  That's caving buddy DA in his Baja Bug leading the way into the northern Bighorn Mountains (click to enlarge):
Two old miner's cabins stand in the near distance, our "camp" for the previous week of caving and other explorations of the area, with the East and West Pryor Mountains looming beyond:
Pronghorn antelope spied our presence in this out-of-the-way place, never approaching closer than the high ridge overlooking our camp:
One of our activities involved surface survey for sinkholes in this exhumed karst terrain, but Devil Canyon plunges more than 900 feet from rim to river (Porcupine Creek), an effective geographic obstacle to exploring further north:
Defunct uranium mines perforate the landscape, where recent but feeble attempts have been made to close the entrances due to safety concerns:
We went rockhounding one afternoon, and nice specimens of dogtooth spar calcite were found in the mine dumps:
The nearly sheer walls in Bighorn Canyon show a solutioned zone in the Madison Limestone about 80 to 110 ft below the plateau surface, marking the stratigraphic zone where most caverns had been formed in this area.  Note the boaters for scale:
Nearby, a pair of abandoned channels of the ancestral Bighorn River lie hundreds of feet above the present river level, and are appropriately named the "Natural Corrals:"
By the way, we ate quite well during our week in residence:
And every-other evening provided a photo-worthy sunset:

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