Grousing about Grouse Mountain

nounnoun: grouse; plural noun: grouse

  1. a medium to large game bird with a plump body and feathered legs, the male being larger and more conspicuously colored than the female.

verbverb: grouse; 3rd person present: grouses; past tense: groused; past participle: groused; gerund or present participle: grousing

  1. complain pettily; grumble.”she heard him grousing about his assistant”

Grouse Mountain Dispersed camping is part of the Wyoming Forest Service land. Jim found it on Freecampsites.net. It may also be found on campendium.com It is situated about 20 miles outside of Buffalo, Wy. The strip of land used for camping parallels to Hwy 16. The entrance is across from a scenic overlook called Hospital Hill. A forest ranger told us it probably got its name from people having to go to hospital after coming up or down their 8% (yes, 8%) hills!

The road going through the strip of land is dirt, but definitely drivable. Both sides of the approximately mile long strip is wide enough and level enough for even large RVs to park along. No matter which spot you choose you’re assured of beautiful, breathtaking scenery all around you.

South view (Note that there is private land between the camping area in the foreground and the hills behind it.)

We chose a spot midway and was certainly not disappointed. The ground was fairly level and hard packed even after rains. Now it did come with an extra surprise – cow patties. Normally, I’d say yuck, but these were so old and dry they were easy to walk around and caused no worries.

Plenty of room for camping.

This was a popular dispersed camping area with at least a dozen campers (anything from tents to motor homes) at any give time. However, you were never really close to your neighbors. Some of our neighbors never even came out of their vans, which totally puzzled us. Why wouldn’t you when there was such beautiful scenery? Oh well, each to their own.

Neighbors

The weather was cool to downright chilly even for mid-June. We had several days of off-and-on rain storms. We still managed to enjoy time outside between rains. We tried to go to Buffalo one day, but didn’t get to explore as a storm hit and we headed back to Grouse Mountain. Next time. Our last couple days there the weather cleared and was perfect, allowing us to spend all day outside.

Even the rain clouds are beautiful here.

Our goal was to stay 14 days which would have gotten us through the dreaded 4th of July holidays. It is no fun trying to find campsites during the holidays. And the camping here is free! That’s definitely a bonus. It also had great wi-fi service, which allowed our son to continue his online lessons. We were definitely set for the two week stay, but for others, a 30 mile ride down the road would get you what you needed.

Unfortunately, our boondocking luck this year has been a little on the bad side. A ranger came around and told all of us we would have to leave that next week. He wasn’t sure when, but said the state was coming through and spraying for invasive weeds and gave us a flyer about these dastardly weeds.

To say we were bummed was an understatement but we decided to hang in there until they actually came aknockin’.

Well, Monday came and all was well. Tuesday was gorgeous and Jim and K used the time to climb the “mountain” across from us. I spent the morning watching them through binoculars and then later taking photos of flowers.

Contemplating a climb.

Thinking we were going to slide free we enjoyed to the fullest. Until the “knock” came. A super nice ranger came with the bad news that we needed to be gone by that evening or next morning at most. They even posted signs stating that the areas were closed for the year.

I would like to say we are understanding people, but it was frustrating and seemed fishy. We were not alone in our concerns as noted by some recent reviewers of the area. A neighbor told Jim that some lady came screaming through the area telling campers that they needed to get off the land because it was for the cattle (you could see the cattle across the highway near Jim and K’s mountain.) He told her that it was Federal land and was okay for dispersed camping. She proceeded to continue her rant and moved on down to the next camper. Hmmm.

Jim and I also noticed a lot of movement back and forth of delivery vehicles going to the private property that sets in the valley directly behind the camping area. We tried to look up the property and information was sketchy at best. We know the owners have money and suspect there was going to be a big 4th of July to-do. Could that have affected the decision to move all of us? Hmmmm.

We also noticed the cattle across the road being herded together towards the gate area. Special interest groups need to remember that public lands are paid for by public tax money, mine and your money, people! And why wait until the height of camping season? So was this really about weeds or other agendas?

Will we come again? Absolutely, but our hopes are that this is not an ongoing issue. And that’s my grouse!

By 2bikes1boat Always An Adventure

We are both teachers that love to explore and play in the great outdoors whenever we can, especially during the summer. It also gives our little guy a chance to see the world beyond the small corners of our town.

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