Sunday, August 27th, 2006

This may be our last post for a week or so – please contain your disappointment – as we’re not sure what kind of access we’ll have in the Yasawas, the archipelago northwest of Fiji’s main island and our first destination. We’re anxious, nervous, excited … and eager to finally get started. Hopefully the next time you hear from us it will be to report something cool and interesting … but probably it will be just another blast of purple prose and half-baked political theories. Who can say?

We rented the Spruce Mountain Fire Tower west of Laramie for the night, joined by my friend Dustin and his son, Taylor, and Taylor’s friend, Austin. Also my brother Andrew and his girlfriend, Alison. Cheap digs: $40 a night. And we had the good fortune to have some inclement weather.

Buffeted by winds, pelted by hail and rain, enveloped by fog – what a night. And we still got to see a pristine sunrise from 100 feet in the air over Medicine Bow. Otherwise nothing but rolling hills and coniferous forest and, directly to the west, Rob Roy Reservoir, one of Laramie’s lifelines. The water level, as usual, is down: we see the dead ring of earth running all along the water’s edge: a line of brown between the sterling blue and rich verdant green.

Overhead, rolling battalions of cumulus clouds; below, looking over the edge of the tower rail, piles and cairns and rubble of rocks, the foundation of Spruce Mountain.

In the morning we discover a bear has overturned the garbage cans in the picnic area at the base of the tower.

University of Wyoming students are starting to trickle in, all blank stares and slack jaws. So we absconded to the hills, a little place between here and Cheyenne called Vedauwoo. Check out our pictures (at right, soon I hope): you can see why this is a holy site for Native Americans. Park anywhere and plunge in and don’t worry about trails, maps, compasses: the huge pillow-shaped Sherman granite formations provide easy landmarks.