July 4, 2022.
Just five months ago - almost to the day we set out - the Wyoming Backcountry Discovery Route (WYBDR) was released by the BDR organization. Totaling 967 miles and blocked by snow until summer, it winds through one of the last frontiers in America - some 48% of the state being public land - perhaps the most remote adventure of all the BDR’s created to date.
As always, we wanted to run a BDR this summer, and I'd had my eye on Colorado or Utah as both are always beautiful states through which to travel. But the pull of a brand-new route - through a state that I've done relatively little exploration of - was simply too great.
As we travelled the route, we couldn't have been happier. With a late spring and summer, we were the very first four-wheeled vehicle to complete the entire trail, parts of it inaccessible even just a week before we arrived. And, with no fires to speak of affecting the route, we enjoyed warm temps, blue skies, and a pleasantly varied terrain as colorful wildflowers and spectacular views presented themselves around every turn.
By the end we both agreed, it was our new favorite Backcountry Discovery Route. (Yes, the Nevada BDR and Idaho BDR are still pretty great.)
As usual, BDR routes can be found on the RideBDR web site. I always find there's a little work to get them into tip-top shape, but that just gets you a little more familiar with the route before you embark yourself!
I Think We're the First - WYBDR Prologue - There are several reasons that @mrs.turbodb and I like to run Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDRs). Some of them are selfish - the trip planning has been done for us by the good folks at RideBDR; some of them are nostalgic - our first trip in the Tacoma was on the… Red Desert - An Underwhelming Start - WYBDR X - Having arrived at our middle-of-a-random-field BLM camping location just after midnight, there was no getting up for a pre-6:00am sunrise. Rather, we climbed down the ladder at nearly 8:30am to temperatures that were already in the mid 70s °F. With no breakfast to make - as we'd decided to skip… Baggs to Centennial - "Yeah Buddy," Into the Sierra Madre - WYBDR 1 - Unlike most other BDRs we've done, getting to the start of Wyoming Backcountry Discovery Route, for us, meant travelling just a bit of the route backwards - south on WY-789 towards Baggs - first. And Baggs - it turns out - is a couple miles north of the Wyoming-Colorado border.… Centennial to Elk Mtn - Top of the World - WYBDR 2 - Having pulled into the Centennial Historical Museum for a photo of the train depot, @mrs.turbodb and I each spotted displays that we wanted to check out, so we popped out of the Tacoma for a few minutes to do just that. I headed over to an old Union Pacific caboose,… Elk Mtn to Alcova - A Most Welcome Detour - WYBDR 3 - We had a hell of a time getting out of Elk Mountain. Well, not exactly out of town per-se, but out of the Conoco fuel station along I-80, just a few miles away. With gas prices as they are, I'd downloaded the Conoco app to save $.10/gal; let me tell… Alcova to Atlantic City - Disappointment - WYBDR 4 - Heading out of Alcova, we were driving into the sun. I'm never a huge fan of this, since it makes it harder to enjoy the landscape into which we are adventuring, and I hoped that we'd find somewhere to camp quickly, or that we'd turn north so that the sun… Atlantic City to Shoshoni - Through the Wind River Basin - WYBDR 5 - Heading out of Atlantic City, we were both looking forward to a leisurely stroll around the ghost town of South Pass and the nearby Carissa Mine. I actually envisioned them as similar to - but perhaps better than - the amazing ghost town of Bodie, California, which I'd visited the… Shoshoni to Ten Sleep - Wyoming's Utah - WYBDR 6 - Having arrived in Shoshoni extremely early in the morning, and with no refueling necessary, we rolled out of town as soon as we'd snapped a photo of the "Welcome to Shoshoni" sign on the edge of town. As we did, a couple dual-sport riders passed us in the opposite direction,… Ten Sleep to Burgess Jct - Beauty of the Bighorns - WYBDR 7 - We didn't stick around in Ten Sleep any longer than necessary - mostly for the same reason that we scurried from Atlantic City and South Pass the day before - people. I'm sure that all these places would be super fun to wander around mid-week, but on a warm summer… Burgess Jct to Montana - Grand Finale - WYBDR 8 - Unlike most stages of the Wyoming BDR that were between 100 - 150 miles, the final stage was a mere 43. Surely, we thought, we'll be done in an hour or two tops. Naturally, we were mistaken. Already remote - starting from the junction of WY-14 and WY-14A - crossing… What a Great Route - WYBDR Epilogue - The Wyoming Backcountry Discovery route is our 6th BDR in as many years. Through the running of each one, @mrs.turbodb and I are - as you can imagine - regularly comparing the current BDR to the past ones. Starting last year, with the New Mexico BDR, I finally started writing…
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