Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meeting the Locals

Hoop Lake is in Summit County, Utah.  But don’t tell that to the people of Bridger Valley in Uinta County, Wyoming.  They claim the lake as their own.  There’s good reason for this.  The most direct route to Hoop Lake takes you through Uinta County, Wyoming.  There is a way to get to Hoop Lake entirely within Utah, but it would involve driving an extra two hours. One of those hours is on a road that ATV riders find rough.

Our normal route takes us through the towns of Urie, Mountain View, and Lonetree.  We’ve also accessed the main road through Fort Bridger and Lyman.  The locals refer to this area as the Bridger Valley, named for the famous mountain man, Jim Bridger.  In 1842, Jim Bridger established a supply post on the Blacks Fork of the Green River to cater to emigrants moving west, as the westward migration started along the Oregon Trail and other trails.
All are small towns with friendly people.  Not much industry – primarily farming and ranching.  Small businesses tend to cater to campers, as these towns are the gateway to several Uinta mountain lakes as well as Flaming Gorge.
One of my early childhood memories of going to Hoop Lake was seeing the sign for the town of Lonetree, which stated “Elevation 6800, Population 5.”  They’ve since taken the sign down, but I always found it amusing that there would be a town with only five people in it.  I also knew once I saw the sign that it was only another hour to the lake.
We’ve had the opportunity to meet many folks from the Bridger Valley area.  A gentleman from Lyman told us that his grandfather worked on the crew that built the dam.  A gentleman from Mountain View told a story about his grandfather’s unwitting involvement in a bank robbery when he was a boy.  Apparently the gang asked the boy to hang on to their horses while they went to the bank.  They proceeded to rob the bank, grabbed the horses and tossed the boy a gold coin as they rode away. 
The locals have been very kind to us, recommending restaurants and services and sharing the local lore with us.  Residents of Bridger Valley – we appreciate you!

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