This morning was crisp, clear and warmer than it’s been in a week – which is to say 3°. I knew I had a tough day ahead of me, and at 05.00 nothing seemed more appealing than rolling over and going back to sleep. I didn’t. Instead I packed up and hit the road, however my irritation at having to leave the warm motlel quickly passed. As I started climbing the scenery just go better and better, with rolling fields filled with sagebrush and cattle topped of with granate snow-flecked peaks looming all around.
I’m deinately in the ‘Wild West’ now – just about every man either sports a moustache and a cowboy hat, or is Native American. The terrian fits the bill perfectly, and it’s easy to imagine Indians hiding in amongst the rocks, waiting to attack unsuspecting travellers through their lands. I spent most of the day cycling through the ‘Wind River Indian Reservation’ home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Araparo Tribes. The reservation is set in the Badlands – an area of towering red rock cliffs standing sentinal on the banks of the Wind River. As I cycled up through the Wind River Valley I passed Crowheart Butte. In the mid 1800’s the Crow and Shoshone Indians met here to decide who held claim to the valley, the battle raged for three days, and still no victor was decided. The Shoshone cheif Washikie and the Crow cheif Big Robber fought on top of the butte to decide the outcome of the battle – Washikie won, cut out Big Robber’s heart and impailed it on his spear.
The area I cycled through today definately had a feeling of usefulness about it that was lacking in southern Wyoming – While I didn’t pass a single town all day, I did see various ranches and farms: civilization definately felt closer. I arrived in Dubois at around 12.30: the entire place is constructed around a wild west theme, clearly intended to trap tourists on the way to Yellowstone – one shop is brilliantly named ‘Knifes and Stuff’. In the off season it just seems a bit hollow however, as if their aren’t enough people to fill the place. It’s the last real town I’ll visit in the next two days – I have the wilds of Yellowstone and Teton to tackle first, and I can’t wait.