Day two in the field has a few more challenges. The first site Taylor wants to sample is in a town called Story. Though the dike is supposedly on government owned land, the roads to reach it are all privately owned by ranchers. A friendly forest service official points us towards the ranch road that will take us there, but when we reach the house, the place is eerily deserted, and we can’t find anyone who could give us permission to drive through the property.
Even stranger are the signs in English and Arabic that warn trespassers and hunters to stay off the land. While we’re not exactly hunting for animals, the message is enough to turn us away. We spend the car ride back to the highway looking at pronghorn antelope out the window, and wondering why a rancher in Wyoming would post signs in a Middle Eastern language.
The second site is high in the mountains over Buffalo on a horse-trail covered piece of the Bighorn National Forest. The mountains are largely covered in open fields full of wildflowers, and we can see the shadows of clouds as they pass over the slopes.
The road that Taylor wants turns off from the road to a horse breeding ranch operated by men in Stetsons, flannel shirts, and cowboy boots. We stop to ask directions from a group of similarly dressed people camped out with their trailers and dogs. They can’t help us find a way to the site, but they offer to rent us some horses.
We decide to stick with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but as it climbs over the rocky dirt road, we start to wonder if this track can take us all the way through to the site. When we climb out of the car to scout, we find that a creek is running over the road. This in itself is not a problem, but because the other side of the creek is steep and rocky, we decide we need a more serious off-roading vehicle.
Back in Buffalo, we find a place that will rent us ATVs. We’ll stay the night in town, and try again tomorrow.