THE SNOWY RANGE
*jump to snowy climbing
As one drives westward from Laramie, Wyoming on State Highway 130, the barren and windswept high plains come to an abrupt halt about 25 miles away. A fortress of emerald-colored mountains known as the Snowy Range is centered in the horizon and a jagged ridgeline of snow and rock reaches high into the cobalt sky.
This is extraordinary, pristine alpine high country with a colorful history well worth exploring. The "Snowies" are a part of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and much of this captivating area has been designated as a Scenic Byway (Note: good info and links are found here). As the quaint town of Centennial (WY) is left behind, one traverses across Snowy Range Pass (10,840') and a stunning picture postcard comes alive. From the high point, Medicine Bow Peak at 12,031 feet, a series of rock faces, the Southeast Faces of the Snowy Range progress in a southwesterly direction. The Faces are tilted upright like huge defensive plates of Stegosaurus armor and separated from each other by snow-choked couloirs. To the WEST of this high ridgeline, the land gradually declines into densely forested hills punctuated with occasional lakes, aspen groves and subalpine meadowlands for nearly 30 miles in the direction of the historic towns of (Grand) Encampment and Saratoga (the fishing capital of the Cowboy State). To the EAST however, there is a sheer drop of at least 300 to over 1,100 feet into an aesthetic collage of snowpack, talus slopes, tundra meadows, scattered lakes sparking like gemstones and gurgling streams, all surrounded by strong stands of Englemann Spruce and other less populous fir, pines and aspen depending on altitude. Here, wildflowers literally explode during the foreshortened summers, decorating the high meadows like an impressionist's canvas. The scene is nothing short of spectacular, as is the opportunity for . . . . .
Here are some shots in and around Centennial' (WY), population 100 or less, the 'eastern gateway' to the "Snowies" on Highway 130. The first shot is about 10 miles out (east of town, looking west), and one can see the Southeast Faces (1) as well as Medicine Bow Peak (2) from this vantage. The second shot is approaching the town, third is in town. Judging from the state of the police car, coffee can emergency lights and all, it is pretty rural territory. Stop in here - there are some very nice, old fashioned hotels, visitors amenities and friendly people found in this historic little mining town.
A D D I T I O N A L C O M M E N T S
1.) Look at the Snowies Map for a GENERAL OVERVIEW of the area.
3.) Go to the TERRASERVER WEBSITE for a satellite view of the SNOWIES. Click on the image to focus down on the detail.... COOL !!
4.) Go HERE for additional reading on the SNOWY RANGE.
SEE MORE SNOWY IMAGES HERE !!
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