In an effort to avoid the crowds, Lee and I have been exploring the National Forest areas looking for moose. Based on a recommendation from his boss we headed towards Henry’s Lake one afternoon and while we were traveling around the lake we saw a small sign that said Red Rock Pass. In the spirit of adventure we thought why not and traveled 27 miles along a dirt road until we reached the Red Rock Wilderness area.
Sometimes when you take the road less traveled it is only so-so but this trip was really special. So special in fact I was surprised by how few pictures I took because I was really caught up in the moment. It wasn’t that the vistas were the best we have seen, or the animal sightings. It was the complete remoteness of the road and we literally never knew what would be around each corner.
One of the weirdest things is we were in this heavily wooded area and cows were free range grazing kind of everywhere. They also shared the area with moose, and we saw one grazing right near them. The moose had a full rack which Lee said was spectacular but I only saw its backside as it ran back into the trees. The cows on the other hand could have cared less and we had to be pretty careful as we turned corners because they were near or on the road.
After a pretty steep climb we saw a small campground of sorts and a sign saying we were at Red Rock Pass. We continued on and ended up in a stretch of grazing land with a few ranch houses along the road. This area had no cell coverage at all but people were definitely living there. I can’t imagine being that isolated personally because this road is not cleared in the winter so you could be stuck in that valley for chunks of time.
Eventually we reached the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge which has several large lakes and a small research facility with families living there. Again no cell coverage the entire trip but I imagine they had some kind of connection in the small town. This area was pretty wild with antelope, gorgeous mountains, and a lake known for trumpeter swan nesting. We drove as far as we were comfortable going and then when it started to get darker we turned around and drove back the other way. We didn’t come close to exploring it all and I definitely want to go back on another visit sometime.
One our way back out we saw the weather station up on a hill and I realized that the area we had passed we had seen from Sawtelle Peak. As much as I enjoy the views from above nothing quite beats seeing things from the ground and I am really glad we got into the thick of things.
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