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.