Fence, Adobe Town, SW Wyoming
Adobe Town, in the Red Desert of SW Wyoming is one of my favorite places. I've hiked amongst the spectacular badlands, camped near a coyote den and watched the pups play, found arrowheads and a medicine pipe, found a wooden crib and a plastic Big Wheel at an abandoned ranch house, photographed wild horses running across a dry lake bed, carried my daughter on my back when she got too tired to walk, and gotten my truck hopelessly stuck in the mud, only to engineer a way out using a cheap jack (I've GOT to buy a better one) and a lot of rocks and sticks. Each trip reveals some new aspect of the place that surprises me.
One of last year's finds was a natural corral below the rim amongst the badlands, where cowboys had used old drilling cable to construct an elaborate fence to block the only exit. When you are a photographer, the remains of odd human endeavors like this can occupy you for hours. The cable that forms the spine of the fence is probably 3/4" in diameter and heavy as hell. It's also rusted to a beautiful brown orange color, and wrapped around all sorts of interesting posts, bits of thinner cable, and in one place, an antler. I can only imagine the determination necessary to even stretch the cable enough to get it off the ground.
At Adobe Town you can still sit on the rim at night and see no sign of humans. The badlands are as spectacular as those in any national park. Nobody is there. And yet, it's a microcosm of the endless tension between preservation and development. Periodically offered salvation from oil and gas development, new threats always emerge. Protection is never permanent. Every time Adobe Town is recognized as deserving of wildness, some company tries to gnaw away at it from the edges. Too few people realize how rare it is now to have such a place, and how easy it is to lose it.