Still destined for greatness we found a perfect little campground on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) property just shy of the Shoshone Forest in an region south of Lander, Wyoming. This locality has an amazing amount of history surrounding its foundation and those with ties here have preserved the area for others to enjoy.
Around the time folks were heading west for the California Gold Rush in the late 1800s, three towns popped up at this location as someone had found gold and other precious metals here. Unfortunately they only found small amount of gold for three short years, so many people continued on their journey west. The area had extremely harsh winters, a severe lack of water, and frequent raids by the local Indians thus not desirable to set up a homestead.
Those few who did decide to stay established some mining techniques that paved the way for the future and were able to find some fortune in metal ore. Of the three original towns, two have thrived and preserved original structures while the third has been deserted and deemed a ghost town but is still a well-maintained visitor showcase.
Included also in the area are numerous points of interest including an old mine shaft and the original Oregon Trail. I sat and paid respects to those who traveled in through the rocky terrain and endless hills with their trusty oxen and covered wagons having nothing ahead but dreams of gold and happiness.
Two BLM campgrounds lie in the area, Big Mulch Campground and Atlantic City Campground, the latter of which we chose to set up camp. Very beautiful and scenic area with semi-private sites all fenced in to protect us from the local wildlife. I am not sure what to expect camping in bear country but we followed rules of keeping our camping area free of food scrapes, disposing of dish water away from the area, and keeping our food in our car. Thus, we never did encounter a bear. Our trusty supply of bear mace was nearby just in case as well as our hatchet and knives, and the never fail scare element of our car alarm.
The campground of 18 spots was roughly half full when we arrived and people slowly trickled home during the week. A group made up of mostly middle aged people from Wyoming who were relaxing and enjoying the sites away from their backyard. Of those that had stayed for a while, they were equipped with hard top campers, generators, and Polaris off road vehicles.
That seems to be a theme around here and a necessity for Wyoming living, a truck and a Polaris. A few rolled through for only a night, some with campers and others with tents. The days were blistering sunny and warm while the night brought a chill with only dreams of a luxurious space heater. The rolling landscape being brown, rocky, and desolate with random patches of trees and makes for a stunning picturesque backdrop.
We really enjoyed our stay here at Atlantic City Campground. With no cell reception for miles, it made for a true getting back in touch with nature camping. There was lots of historic sites to see and trails to hike through and the view of scenery and wildlife that is not seen in Iowa made for an amazing experience. I can’t wait to return with my off-road-vehicle and explore the area more in depth.