We were planning to camp in the Bighorn National Wilderness, but ended up driving straight through, due to the lateness of the day and the lack of signage along the winding mountain roads. This is a really neat area, with crazy elevation gains and drops along a relatively short stretch of highway running through the forest.
We saw a couple of gravel roads that may or may not lead to campgrounds, but since the majority of them were not yet open for the season (the middle of June), and we just weren’t sure how remote we’d be, we decided to head towards the nearest town.
We first found a campground located on the west side of Buffalo, WY. Named Bighorn Mountain Campground, their phone service said they would open at the end of May, but today, June 3, they’re still closed down, so we drove on into town.
We found our way to the Mountain View Cabins and Campground. We secured a grassy spot on the lawn behind the cabins, next to several RVs currently inhabited by very friendly long-term residents. Once we had settled in, pitched the tent, and finished dinner, we were invited to hang out with two separate groups living there – one group congregated around the communal chiminea in the middle of the cabin courtyard, the other next to a resident’s camper. They kindly directed us to the nearest grocery and liquor stores and said “See ya later!”
We did a little shopping and moseyed on over as the sun was going down. It was an interesting night. One of the people we met is a native Wyomingan (That’s right; I looked it up.) who spent his productive years driving cattle and being an outfitter for city dudes. Sadly, his fascinating stories of life in classic Wyoming quickly turned to random observations on politics and religion as he drank a mysterious beverage out of a measuring cup. His companion, a former history teacher from Texas and later Utah, also drank steadily throughout the night, but seemed to be lucid a bit longer. Even so, we really enjoyed getting to know them and shuffled off to bed quite a bit later than we had originally intended to in the first place.