For now I'm dropping Red Canyon as the subject of my background image, in favor of a recent photo of the Dunoir Valley, up the road from Dubois, Wyoming.
At this point the valley of the Wind River runs between the Wind River Mountains to the south and the Absaroka (ab-SOR-ka) Mountains on the north. The latter range, which spawns DuNoir Creek, also marks the east side of Yellowstone Park as well as of the caldera of the supervolcano that created its thermal features.
The continental divide leaves Yellowstone Park and runs along the Wind Rivers to South Pass, where the Oregon Trail crosses from the Sweetwater River basin into that of the Green River before striking off toward Fort Hall, Idaho. The paths of the Mormons, the Donner Party, the Pony Express, and the 49ers of the California Gold Rush instead took a southerly turnoff that took them to the Great Salt Lake and, except for the Mormons, beyond.
|Dunoir Valley WY, Oct. 2016|
Viewers of the "Longmire" TV show that haven't yet watched the fifth season on Netflix may be confused about the pronunciation of "Absaroka." I'm not sure what author Craig Johnson's intent was for the Absaroka County in the books, but the TV series made a decision to pronounce the name as it was spelled, in part perhaps to distinguish it from the mountain range more than 100 miles to the west -- the mountains looming over Durant, Wyoming are the Bighorns; Durant is based on Buffalo, Wyoming at the junction of Interstates 25 and 90.
The name "Absaroka" comes from the name the Crow Indian tribe used for themselves, presumably pronounced more like the mountain range than the fictional county.