Friday, May 22, 2009

Out Route 411

As we ended our conversation with Kit Stewart in her gallery in Dubois (WY), she said, “You might enjoy taking a drive out Route 411.”

The road began about a mile east of our RV Park and almost immediately split. We turned left at the fork in the road. Along the six miles of the road we traveled, the hillsides seemed fit for grazing and little more.

Signs indicated that we were passing the property of different ranches. Given the rocky, hilly terrain, it was hard to imagine these ranches as working ranches--even working dude ranches.

Then we came upon one of the three lakes along this road. The mountains and the beauty of Ring Lake seemed to present a scene more conducive to relaxing than working.

Ring Lake Ranch has been established as "an ecumenical renewal center.” Whether for the individual or family, the Ranch provides a setting in which to walk, ride, or sit and re-energize.

When we came upon this scene, we stopped on the gravel road and just stared. Fortunately, there was no traffice on this hilly, narrow road.

The return trip to the fork in the road gave us enough time to take the other choice.

This small lake was quite a contrast to the barren hillsides, but it was easy to understand why a homeowner would choose to build here on the road called Jakeys Fork Creek.

A little further, we came upon the Dubois Fish Hatchery situated at the base of the Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep winter range on the east slope of the Wind River Mountains. The "tour" of the hatchery was a self-directed one with little information available about what we were seeing.

The hatchery was built in 1940 and remodeled in 2005. It incubates between 4 and 7 million trout eggs each year for use at the station and other hatcheries in Wyoming and the United States. The Hatchery also hatches and rears 250,000 to 300,000 trout each year for stocking in Wyoming's streams and lakes.

These three tanks in Pod C were home to the largest of the fish (about 8-9 inches long), but the tanks had no identifying information on them.

As we walked past the tanks, we received one of two reactions from the fish--either they rushed to the surface as though anticipating food or they swam away as though aiming to avoid being netted.

Pod A (far right in the photo) housed two rows of 5 tanks and Pod B (center) housed two rows of three tanks each.

A wide variety of fish are reared at Dubois including brook, brown, and rainbow trout, grayling, Kokanee salmon, and three of Wyoming's native cutthroat trout: the Bear River (Bonneville), Snake River, and Yellowstone cutthroat.

As we left, we saw that a right turn would lead into the CM Ranch, one of the oldest, continuously operating guest ranches in Wyoming.

Charlie Moore owned and operated the Ranch from 1927-1952. It was interesting to learn that he grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation in the late 1800s where his father was the Indian trader at Fort Washakie on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Washakie, the last chief of the Eastern Shoshone tribe, was a regular visitor in the Moore household when Charlie was growing up.

Also of interest to us, Charlie and his brother J.K. Moore, Jr. were educated at Cheltenham Military Academy in Philadelphia, and the Ranch is now owned by the Kemmerer family.

This was the view as we completed our travels down Wyoming's Route 411.

We kept wondering if some of my (Chuck's) Kemmerer cousins were related to the present owners.

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