Day: 11
Miles: 2,143
Location: Saratoga, Wyoming
Not closed to us!

Saratoga, Wyoming, population 1,700 and one strange traveler from California! To get to Saratoga, you have to drive 70 mile west from Laramie, and then drive 15 miles south on a county road; its out there! I ended up here to see a very good friend of mine from my time on Catalina Island. He and his family generously offered to put me up for the night and the following day!

Its funny how you can go 5 years without seeing some of your friend but it only feels like a couple of weeks. We were both adventure trip leaders for the Boy Scouts on Catalina Island and went on many hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and canoe trips. Adventure friendships never die.

Saratoga is an absolutely delightful small town in South-Central Wyoming and I learned a lot about the states culture through this stay. It was so refreshing to be in a small town! Everyone was so welcoming of the stranger from California and I never once felt like an outsider! I hope to someday settle down in a place like this!
The day was filled with adventure! For my first time ever, I donned a pair of cross country skis. I instantly fell in love with this sport! We were up in the Snowy Range of Southern Wyoming, which is a rugged range. On highway 130 we could cross country ski our way up to about 10,000ft. In the not-so-distant-future, I hope to have a chance to climb Medicine Bow Peak. This is the high point of the range and a very isolated part of Wyoming. The conditions were too poor for an ascent on this day, but it was wonderful to be experiencing wild Wyoming. All in all, we were able to ski about 8-10 miles of backcountry near highway 130. It is possible to make a multi-day winter ascent of "Med-bow" but it wasn't in the cards today.

Regardless, we had a great time and then went back to Saratoga. I was invited for a couple of cocktails and my friend's grandfather's place! His house was positively one of the most beautiful dwellings I've ever seen. Everything was build by hand and it was almost entirely made of wood from the surrounding forests. The only thing better than the house was the company. Me and my friend's Wyoming family sat drinking cocktails, eating wings, and telling all sorts of stories of adventure and travel. Between the four of us, we had seen just about everything in the country! I will return to this town!
View from the cabin's bay windows!
Later that night, we went out to the local microbrewery and enjoyed some artesian beers.  The SNow Mountain Brewery had lagers, porters, and a variety of ales and European style beers. Their porter was my absolute favorite. Don't go to Wyoming without stopping here.

The night continued with a couple rounds of pool and some Jimmy Buffett songs at the local poolhall! I could go on and on about how wonderful it was, but I have to be on my way to Yellowstone!