BLM3422 Hydrology Road s(u)

Middlebury Hill is a windswept plateau top, open in three directions and a sheltering grove of aspen in the remaining direction, where it counts the most, and that is the west, because that's the direction from which the wind blows in Wyoming - practically always and with great force. The name "Middlebury Hill" is marked on BLM maps and refers to the northern summit on the Wy71/FR401 between Casper and the Battle Lake Pass road.

Several unpaved roads meet on top of this curiously stark Continental Divide crossing. They all reach about the same maximum elevation. But this BLM track is the highest  by a few feet. A rough, not ridable track on the opposite side of FR401 goes a little higher.

1.(mile00.0,6820ft)sTART-END EAST-1: Saratoga, jct Bridge St - 5th Ave
2.(mile10.0,7470ft)intermediate summit on Jack Creek Rd
3.(mile11.2,7290ft)jct with CR640 on left
4.(mile12.2,7270ft)jct Jack Creek Rd - BLM3422 Hydrology Rd
5.(mile23.2,8250ft)highest point on Jack Creek Rd
6.(mile24.3,7760ft)profile turns left onto Sage Creek Rd.
7.(mile26.8,8080ft)this is one option to turn from Sage Creek Rd onto Hydrology Rd
9.(mile41.5,6820ft)START-END EAST-2: jct Jack Creek Rd - Hydrology Rd, same as point 4


From North-East.
You can really use any of the approaches to Middlebury Hill to get to the start of BLM3422. But the profile starts in Saratoga and goes up CR500 Jack Creek Road, because that's what I happened to use for this loop ride (but not in this order).

The name Saratoga brings up images of refined estates and mineral baths, and they do have the baths here. Other things seem quite different. For example leaving the town along Little Jack Road, you pass a old Hoyt Axton touring bus, and then in a trailer backyard, a brick hanging from a chain. The sign below it reads "Wyoming wind gauge". Later during the ride I had to think back to this.

This can be a torturous climb with the wind blowing gale force wind in your face, and a short very steep uniform ramp in a stark, featureless inclined plane of sage. And it is in the field of view for hours before you get there. The same goes for any motor vehicles. A plume of dust precedes its arrival by several songs on the mp3 player. But then - to compensate - the clouds back over Saratoga make for a great light show with the Laramie mountains behind them

After the top of the plateau is reached (in my case in the pouring rain which was now accompanying the wind), the road descends 290ft to the junction with Co71. Turning left this is a summit point. But the profile turns right (north), where the route finally reaches the crest of Middlebury Hill. Looking closely you can find a CD trail marker next to the road. But they are very small. On each side of the highest point a short access road goes up BLM3422. The highest point is where they meet, and from there there you also get a great view north over the sharp edges of the plateau.

From South-East. (described downwards). This little used BLM track has a good surface at this point. It follows the divide for about a mile and a half, and has sweeping panoramic views, that just cry out to be cropped into an extreme wide format. After the divide turns right, the road makes a sweeping left turn instead and enters a sage study area. A reservoir becomes visible, roughly the size of a puddle when compared to this sweeping landscape.

The road makes its way down to the reservoir. There the surface of the road becomes a little more grassy. Taking the scenic route around the reservoir, the route eventually climbs out of this area through a narrow ravine containing a rare grove of trees. Once on top again, fast dirt roads lead mostly downhill to the junction with Jack Creek Road, with more sweeping views onto the Sierra Madre, the foreground a speckled mix of widely spread cows and the occasional dot like bush. The junction point is still about 12 miles from Saratoga

Ride with this point as highest summit


( < BLM3328 Miller Hill Rd s(u) | Separation Peak s(u) > )
BLM3422 Hydrology Road s(u) : Middlebury Hill > BLM3422 Hydrology Rd s(u) > Jack Creek Road east > a few miles around Saratoga > Jack Creek Road west > CR405 Jack Creek Road(shp) > Wy71 north back to starting point: 58.7miles with 3460ft of climbing in 5:39hrs (Garmin etrex30 m5:15.6.21).
Notes: the only pavement on this ride is close to Saratoga. But Wy71 is hard medalled. Surprisingly I saw a single motor vehicle on BLM3422