porucpine waterfalls off scenic highway 14A

Waterfalls Off Scenic Highway 14A

US Highway 14A, also known as Medicine Wheel Passage Scenic Byway, travels 98 miles from Cody, Wyoming to Burgess Junction.  It features five waterfalls on the 53 mile stretch between Lovell and Burgess Junction along with a few other interesting stops.  Below are the five waterfalls off Scenic Highway 14A.

annie on canyon rim overlooking bighorn lake

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Around the Bighorns

After my week in Buffalo hiking and visiting historic areas, I sort of bounced around a few days, spending a little time in Ten Sleep, Greybull, and Lovell.  Ten Sleep had a great brewery that offered $3 hot showers.  Greybull has a pretty good grocery store called Lynn’s Superfoods and the KOA let me fill up my water tank for $2.  And finally, I got some laundry done in Lovell. In the process of looking for shade on this 90 degree day, I ended up at the offices for Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

I hadn’t planned to visit Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area beyond making a drive by to see if I could spot any of the wild mustangs on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.  But after stopping inside the ranger station to ask a few questions, I spent almost a full day at the recreation area.

lost twin lakes

Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes

How to Get to Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes

Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes are located in the Cloud Peak Wilderness portion of the Big Horn National Forest near Buffalo, Wyoming.  The lakes are accessed via Trail #65 from the West Tensleep Trailhead.

There is a large dirt parking lot, pit toilets, and a few picnic tables at the trailhead located at the end of West Tensleep Road.  West Tensleep Road is a very popular camping area.  Free, designated sites line the road and are available on a first come first served basis.  There are also a few basic campgrounds.

So far, the hike to Mirror Lake and Lost Twin Lakes has been my favorite of the season.  It definitely earns FIVE STARS on AllTrails.  Somehow, I doubt it will be topped, but I have many more hikes in Wyoming to complete.

girl and dog at sherd lake

Happy Hiking: Sherd Lake Trail

Sherd Lake Trailhead is located off Circle Park Road in the Cloud Peak Wilderness of Big Horn National Forest near Buffalo, Wyoming.  Normally the moderate, 3.5 mile roundtrip hike leaves from a small dirt parking area with a pit toilet.

Currently, due to all the precipitation in Wyoming, Circle Park Road is closed at the entrance gate off Highway 16.  The closure adds 4.5 miles to the hike, though much of the additional distance may be covered via a connector trail after walking a mile down the road.

the occidental hotel in buffalo

Things to Do in Buffalo

The small town of Buffalo, Wyoming is located nine miles east of the Big Horn National Forest in Johnson County, Wyoming.  It is just large enough to provide all the amenities when exploring the area.  Buffalo features a historic downtown as well as a slew necessary travel businesses on Hart St which intersects with I-90.

Buffalo’s colorful history includes Indian Wars, Cattle Baron Wars, and outlaw activity.  Though it might be best known as Durant in Absaroka County in the Longmire Series written by Craig Johnson, who lives on a ranch in nearby Ucross.  A&E and later Netflix aired a combined six seasons of the Longmire mystery series based in Buffalo and Johnson County.

Things to Do in Buffalo

There are many things to do in Buffalo, from visiting outlaw hangouts, to fishing, camping, climbing, horseback riding, and strolling through the quaint Buffalo Historic District.  Below are a few things you will find when visiting Buffalo.


Grouse Mountain Trail and Ice Caves

My first 24 hours in Wyoming were a little rough.  I drove through two hailstorms. While looking for a camp spot, I got stuck in the mud and had to get a tow from some nice cowboys. And finally, Annie cut her paw and lost her brand-new bear bell on our first hike to Grouse Mountain and Ice Caves.  But, after waking up to a magnificent sunrise, breathing in the fresh mountain air, and spotting deer, pronghorn, and grouse during the first two hours of my hike, I’m quickly reminded why I venture into the wilderness.  #thatsWY

annie on goat hill above raton

Happy Hiking: Climax Canyon Trail

Anytime I come through Raton, New Mexico, I simply just think of it is the place to get gas between Colorado and Texas as there is a long stretch of road without facilities.  Raton, in fact, has more to offer than just gas, particularly its surrounding hiking trails. 

The last time I stopped near Raton for more than just gas was twelve years ago on my first road trip across the USA.  I explored Sugarite Canyon State Park to the Northeast of Raton.  This time, I took Annie to stretch her legs in Climax Canyon Park on the west edge of town.

boiling lake

Hike to Boiling Lake

Those who know me, know I have logged countless hours hiking from my daily, morning walks along the Northshore of Lake Grapevine, to 486 miles of the Colorado Trail, to numerous “14ers” which are all considered hard due their 14,000 feet in altitude.  The hike to Boiling Lake in Dominica, the second largest in the world, ranks as one of the most unique hikes I’ve ever completed.  It is also harder than you’d expect for a trail topping out at 3,243 feet.

After reading some reviews on AllTrails as well as a few bloggers’ descriptions, I expected to being slogging through ankle deep mud and forging knee-deep rivers like the Crested Butte to Aspen Hike in Colorado, but fortunately the hike to Boiling Lake was not that bad.

That said, with all the ups and downs, the 8.1 hike to Boiling Lake gains a decent amount of elevation along some steep 39% grades similar to hikes in Vail, Colorado.  Also, many times, the hike requires short scrambles with 3 to 4 points of contact.  Additionally hot temperatures and high humidity as well as slick terrain from daily rains can make the trek daunting, relative to most island hikes. Good shoes are a must!

hummingbird nest with two babies in colleyville nature center

Colleyville Nature Center

The Colleyville Nature Center is owned and operated by the City of Colleyville Parks and Recreation.  This 46-acre refuge which features nine ponds and 3.5 miles of trails is a nature lovers paradise located right in the middle of a neighborhood!

I learned of this pocket of paradise, just 20 minutes from my house, through a group called Hiker Babes.  The group is global, and it has both a North Texas Chapter and a DFW Chapter which posts events on Facebook regularly.  It was my first time joining them for an activity, and me and my friend Laura had a nice time. And Laura even walked away with a backpack giveaway! Lucky winner!!


How to Visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico

How to Visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Mexico

For those who don’t know, 25 to 50 million monarch butterflies migrate from the USA and Canada to the monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Mexico every year.  This is a far cry from the billions that made the journey until a rare freeze in Mexico obliterated 80% of the population creating piles 13 inches high of dead monarchs on the ground.  Regardless, it is still an amazing phenomenon that could go extinct…not the butterflies, but the migration. So go check it out before it is too late!

The monarchs arrive in the high-altitude Mexico mountains around November 1st and migrate back to the USA and Canada in mid-March.  They concentrate in 12 known areas over three hectares in the biosphere reserve.  Four of these areas are sanctuaries that are open to the public.