17. Wyoming
Exploring Vernal

Exploring Vernal

April 2022

North-East Utah is the land of dinosaurs. Dinosaur trails that lead to fossilized dinosaur footprints, dinosaur museums, and the Dinosaur National Monument. Entering Vernal, Utah, you are greeted by the happy pink brontosaurus (?); you can order an Allosaurs Amber at the Vernal Brewery or a decent (according to our German friend, Florian) Oktoberfest beer at the Dinosaur Brew Haus just down the road.

The landscape changes dramatically over the four-hour drive south from Lander and we are excited to be on the road heading to Red Fleet Reservoir in our new (to us) camper, The Wolf Pup. Stéphane drove to South Dakota to pick her up – she’s the perfect layout – a dedicated bed for us, two bunks, and a u-shaped dinette in the slide. Two deep drawers hold Yahtzee, cards, protein bars, spaghetti, and Cup O’ Noodles; our bed hoists up on a hydraulic arm to access a huge storage area below. Best of all, a little hobbit-sized door next to Hugo’s bunk. It’s to make loading gear into the camper easier but really it’s a door to his secret lair.

The Wolf Pup on her maiden voyage. First stop Red Fleet Reservoir, just north of Vernal
The trails at Red Fleet were a little wet/soft for riding but we got a few laps in. Snowy Uintas Mountains in the background.
“The Right Turn” – on our second trip here we discovered a cool climb that was accessed from the sharp right turn on the Jay-Boy trial.
On the Wyoming-Utah border. Lucerne Valley in the background – some good climbing, or so we’ve read. Haven’t checked out yet.
Utah fully embraces their dinosaur heritage.
Central Battleship in the background (the scene of some climbing a few days later). Grilling and relaxing at Red Fleet Reservoir. Hugo testing out his metal detector and running around in the last rays of the day.
We meet Tom and Melisa, Barry, Brooke & Ryan for a fun long weekend of mountain biking and climbing. Tom & Melisa here on Jackalope – a super fun trail in McCoy Flats, south of Vernal.
The Jackalope
Family ride on a fun little cruiser trail.
Multi-sport day for Hugo!
Hugo was beyond excited to ride with The Crew and held his own on his little electric Oset.
Waiting for the gang.
Ready to go rip it up. Fearless and confident!
Leading the way.

After a fun day of dirt biking and mountain biking, the tired crew circles the campfire for some music, snacks, fellowship and warmth. I love when Barry joins our excursions because we get some fun banjo music!
A competitive round of Uno.
I even tried out “that dirt biking thing”. Reading the writing on the wall, if Hugo is still stoked on dirt biking next season or two, I think we will be adding some adult dirt bikes to the gear collection. I better get some experience while I can!
What have I gotten myself into?
It was an adventure ride with the boys. And it was a whole lot of fun!
Après-sport camp bocce.
Hugo digs Barry’s playing.
Melisa warming up in camp puffy and beanie.
Next day, it’s time for some climbing. We check out Central Battleship @ Red Fleet Reservoir. Nothing to write home about but its was a fun day with the gang and so nice to spend time with Tom and Melisa again. We’d missed them.
Hugo gets a belay from Aunt Melisa.
Working out the moves.
Strong stance!
Nice work Hugo! Ready to lower.
Team Hefti getting on that pretty red sandstone.
My turn!
There’s always a few books at the crag.
Enjoying the sunshine
Stephane takes a lap.
Hanging with Aunt Melisa.
Gang selfie before we head our separate ways. What a fun time.

We had such a fun time reconnecting with Tom and Melisa and the gang and discovering a new playground in North-East Utah. The Vernal area is equidistant for us and Tom and Melisa so we are excited to have found a fun place to hopefully meet up with them again soon. The Wolf Pup did well on her shake-down cruise!

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