I am going to start this update by telling you that Wyoming is BIG! I mean really big and it seems there are no direct ways to get out of Yellowstone Park if you went in the way I did.... UGH! I had the toughtest time getting out of this big ole state. Then of course, once I did... there were issues with the next state I visited - South Dakota. Seemed that state did not want to let me leave.
So.... here is my story of how I got lost in Wyoming past the hour of midnight and how I found paradise near the border and then had my nerves tested in South Dakota.
I updated everyone as far as my trip into Yellowstone National Forest. Well, as we all know now (provided you read the last update). The last gist is that I could not find a decent spot to camp for the night in Yellowstone. So, in my eternal wisdom, I decided that I would the park that evening and start heading towards Rapid City - eastwards along the I-90. To get out of the park from the southern area, I had to head to Dubois. So..... I started heading East out of the Park.
I finally made it outside the park after passing some seriously scenic spots, and I even passed a continental devide at around 9,000 feet or so. I also passed a forst fire in the Park. I finally made it to Dubois which was a quaint little town. As inviting as it was for me to spend a night there, I foolishly decided that I wanted to continue my trip and that travelling at night when traffic was light would be a great way to make up time.
So, I following my self aware, Sky-Net raised, selt determining GPS, I followed the signs for HWY 26 with the ultimate intent of linking up with the I-90 East. Firs tof all, idiot me failed to realize that the GPS was set to "Walking"as opposed to driving. I should have figured something was amiss when it said it would take about 5 day to get from the Park to Rapid City - like DOH!
Now, let me explain something here. To get out of the park and head east when you are in the South West part requires criss crossing Wyoming. There is no direct road or route to reach the I-90. So.... first you have to go South on HWY 26 and then head back north on HWY 25 or HWY 20 to go link up with the I-90, or maybe I was just clueless on how to read a map. So, this is what led me on a short adventurous detour out of Yellowstone.
So... there I was pelting down HWY 26..... it seemed endless, especially once the Sun went down. No street lighting anywhere, only light was from a Pale Red moon, and I kid you not. It really was a spectacular pale moon that night. I finally came down the end of HWY 20. Thank goodness one of my biggest supporters - my sister - had been calling me on and off all night. She helped me figure a way out of Wyoming. Only thing we did not know was where exactly the road would take me through..... boy oh boy.
After taking a rest break. I started making my way towards HWY 25 / HWY 2 which would take me to Buffalo, WY and then on to the I-90 Interstate. I did not realize that this would basically take me back up the mountain on the east side of the Yellowstone Park which was actually know as Shoshone National Forest. As I travelled back up along HWY 20, even in the darkness I could not help but notice the amazing landscape around me. The high canyon walls, the tall trees, the big boulders and the tight canyons turns as I wound my way up. Next, after a long break / nap in Worland, I then jump on HWY 16 which now wound its way up through Bighorn National Forest.... I ended up at elevations of 9700 feet again. Early in the morning it was a little spooky being the only car on the road a that time, For some reason, a lot of animals came out to say hi along the road.
I stopped just before getting to Buffalo.... OMG! The air was so crisp and clean. The only sound around 5 AM in the morning was my beating heart, the birds waking up and a river running through near by. It was nature at it's best, I felt like I had found a piece of paradise.
I had gotten lost in the night, but that morning, that dawn, that moment before the Sun came out from behind the mountains, I had found a new me. Thank you Wyoming for granting me that little piece of self discovery.