Memorial Day Weekend in Voo, Part 1

May 24, 2008 at 10:19 pm

“This is ‘high country’ and wind is ever present, whether just a light breeze prowling through the aspen groves or near hurricane force gales. Storms of near bestial proportions are spawned in the snowy range … and many times descend upon the valleys of Vedauwoo.” – Skip Harper

Pictures from the weekend are being added to the gallery!

We made plans to spend the long weekend with the old gang at Vedauwoo months ago. And we should know better than to try to predict weather so far in advance. After a week of heavy weather in Northern Colorado, Mark and I (and most of the rest of the group) weren’t sure how a long weekend in the mountains and high, windy, cold plains of Wyoming was going to turn out. We waffled about whether to drive up on Friday night or Saturday morning, but around 7p on Friday night, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and we decided it was time to take a chance.

Back near the Heap as bad weather closes in

Our first adventure involved finding the campsite that Ann and Sean had picked out earlier in the day. Dylan sent us a map via email, which Mark and I promptly left at home. We both felt we had the image in our mind, so after two hours of driving through mud and fog and rain and the dark woods northwest of Vedauwoo, we finally found the site. We put up our tent in freezing rain and dark fog, and crashed for the night.

In the morning we woke to howling winds and the left side of our tent encased in ice. The few hearty souls who had camped Friday night (Dylan and Ann, Clare, Sean and us) collectively decided we would be unlikely to get much climbing in that day. Mark and I brought my little brother Kev back from the meeting spot and Doug and Liz showed up around 10:30. We all packed up day packs and put on layers to hike out and explore the northern reaches of Vedauwoo.

Loop hike on Saturday around the Green Mountains

This turned out to be a great decision. Even though Mark and I have been climbing in the area for more than four years now, every time we go back to Vedauwoo we discover a new valley, rock, mountain or glade that is just stunning. On this hike, we all explored a whole region that I had only seen from a distance. The Green Mountains are a series of rocky peaks to the north of most of our climbing areas, and on Saturday we got an up-close look.

Looking up at the first peak in the Green Mountains

According to Dylan’s GPS, we covered about 7 miles in about 4 hours, which is good for a hike that was only 60% on a trail or road. With the mountains and rock formations in Vedauwoo, it’s so easy to hike off over a hill, across a marsh, through a forest, without ever needing a trail for navigation. Just put a rock to your back and walk “that way!”

On the final leg of our route around the mountains, we stumbled upon a perfect campsite snuggled up against a peak. The ground was soft with pine needles and the wind blew by overhead without touching us. We all decided we should move campsites.

Saturday evening was spent next to a roaring fire in the soft quiet arms of the lee-side of Vedauwoo. The wind, weather, and remoteness of the area make it so wild. The dark forest feels like coming home to those of us with storms blowing in our souls.