After primitive camping for a week, we packed up and headed to town with our necessity at the moment being showers. They are hard to come by at campgrounds in our price range so we sought out one at the local pool. Thus by pure chance, we happened upon a free camping site at Lander City Park.
A lush and soft grassy strip of park awaited all the eager campers with about dozen tents set up when we got there and just a few when we left. They allow up to three days of primitive camping and have room for both tents and RVs. A cell reception and more activities in the area enticed us to stay the full three days.
After a restful night sleep in bear-free country, we decided to head over to Sinks Canyon State Park for some sightseeing and a hike. This area is home to a unique geological formation in which the Popo Agie River disappears into a rock formation and the reappears about a quarter mile down, or up as the rivers flow north ‘round these parts.
While not a significant distance, it takes the water over two hours to reappear, flowing in and out of the rock crevasses. The ‘sinks’ water flowing down the mountain was fast, grueling, and quite a sight to see while the ‘rise’ were calm and peaceful with the water seeming to just ooze out of rocks. A tranquil sight complete with lots of colorful trout to feed.
To get some exercise in our quaint lifestyle, we took another grueling hike up to Popo Agie Falls and the hike was a reminder of the journeys to Hanging Lake in Colorado. I am still wondering why the altitude is kicking my rear though I have some words of wisdom, do not eat pizza the night before a demanding hike.
The view however was spectacular and we got to follow the river for nearly most of the hike. Once at the top, we found numerous shallow pools of crystal clear water that were inviting and enticing. As we dipped in the sparkling water, we wished we would have brought along our swimsuits as there was an amazing waterslide shaped rock that others were sliding off of and crashing into the water. Adding that to my to-do list.
Reed got a chance to showcase his heroic skills as one little boy was terrified of slipping on the slimy rocks and thus heading down the makeshift waterslide. His mom was doing her best at trying to coax him out, even showing him a way to go but he already convinced himself it was a dangerous situation. He seemed to have the vision that the rocks were razor sharp and any movement through the water would have provoked the man-eating piranhas. As we tried to help persuade him, nothing was working and with the mom’s direction, Reed took change and pulled the kid out of the water as he went limp like a noodle. Nonetheless, the mom was grateful and the kid begged to go home. All in a day’s work.
We made the stop a few times to the local library for some internet time and technology recharge. The library was lovely and quite modern with remarkable murals of the history of the area on the ceiling but it was incredibly noisy. There was no noise control by neither adults nor children and people were carrying on conversations through the echoing open space. A great place to find what you need but not a place to get any work done.
The free camping offered by the Lander City Park was amazing and a great way for any city to promote its good fortune. There was lots of people there in our age group though most of them look like they fit the nomad lifestyle more than us. One gentleman even had himself a ‘tiny house’ on wheels.
It was wonderful to capture the moment of it just isn’t retirement people that can travel and capture the beauty of our country. It seemed most people camping were climbers as that was the activity of choice for the area. The townspeople also seemed to enjoy outdoor activities as we saw many biking around and taking pride in their area. The free camping portion of the park appeared to be on ‘the loop’ as people would drive through in masses and turn around at the dead end near our tent.
Lander was a great town that I really enjoyed. Everyone was very friendly and took enjoyment in living there. I’d love to come back and take part in the climbing offered in the area and try one of the fabulous restaurants we drove by. A choice for myself of places I could live.