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  • J.F. Rowan

Big Horn Boondoggle At Crazy Woman Creek

Parked in one of the free dispersed camp sites in the Big Horn National Forest.

A perfect visit to Devils Tower National Monument. Great stay indeed. But now that we had made our decision to visit Yellowstone, how to make it all work. What would be out route? How would we enter the park and from what direction? And, we still had some places to visit before we got there. And, we had a holiday (July 4th) to contend with. And holiday’s can always be tricky if you want peace and quiet. Our answer was the Big Horn National Forest. From what we could tell, there would be plenty of dry or dispersed camping opportunities and we could hold up through the holiday.

Tucked into the bottom of this gorge near Crazy Woman Creek, it made using the solar panels a challenge.

On our way there, we stopped and visited the local ranger station and met with a nice lady who gave us some tips as to where to park. She gave us about a half dozen places where we would find a quiet place to stay through the holiday. So off we went map in hand to explore more forest service roads.

Access road was just wide enough for us. Fortunately didn't meet too many people on the way in.

Let me cut to the chase.

The policies in Wyoming, even though you’re dealing with a national forest, seem to not work for folks like us. On the other hand, the folks of Wyoming, it seems to work just fine. You see, they know what the policy is. Why I don’t doubt they have most of the policies tattooed on their foreheads so they can read them in the mirror when they shave or wash their face in the morning. You are allowed to camp for 15 days for free, and then you have to move no less than 10 miles to a new spot. And you can do this ALL…SUMMER…LONG. So when we arrived just inside the national forest boudoirs, it became abundantly clear that every single camping spot that was even half-way decent was occupied by a pre-positioned camper whether it be a fifth wheel, travel trailer or slide-in camper left on it’s four wobbly legs.

Not a bad area. It's too bad we couldn't get something with more distance to the road.

We spent the better part of an afternoon looking for a spot, any spot, that we could stay for the night at the very least. We finally were able to get a spot on a nice meandering road bordering Crazy Lady Creek. It was nice enough, but as it turns out, the road was open access to UTV’s, motorcycles, and ATV’s. And all them, hundreds of them, went back and forth all day, every day and late into the night. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve ridden ATV’s and Snowmobiles for the better part of 20 years and still love it. Even the ranger said that along with the pre-portioning of RV’s, that UTV’s and ATV’s were becoming a problem.

Video Files of the amount of traffic caught on our game camera mounted on our number. This shows about two hours worth.

Even though we intended to stay until the following Monday, we loaded up and headed out on Friday morning. We barely missed getting into a head-on collision on the way out with someone who was out of control coming into the national forest. My only joy in it was watching in my rearview mirror as a full keg of beer busted through the guy's tailgate, and rolled about 500 feet down an embankment.

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