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Great Divide Basin - TravelStorys

Roads Through Wyoming: US-287

Location Trip Time Travel Type
Wyoming 2.5 hours

Great Divide Basin

Great Divide Basin (directional) You are now passing a unique area on the Continental divide where the water flows to neither the Atlantic or the Pacific Oceans. In fact, the water here, and there is some from time to time, doesn't flow anywhere. Instead, it all evaporates in a high desert we know as the Great Divide Basin. The Continental Divide, mostly following high points of the Rocky Mountains, is commonly known to separate water from flowing to either the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean. It actually separates water from the Pacific and Arctic oceans in Alaska and much of Canada, but that isn't pertinent to what we are discussing here. Right now you are traversing the Great Divide Basin, which is a split in the Continental Divide that flows around what geographers call an endorheic basin. An endorheic basin is essentially a large valley that does not have any sort of stream to drain it. Virtually all endorheic basins are in deserts, otherwise they would be giant ponds. There are a few in Nevada, and the Takla Mekan Desert in western China is one of the largest. The most famous endorheic basin is in Israel and is home to the Dead Sea. It is actually 1,400 feet below sea level, and is so dry the Jordan River, which flows into it, simply evaporates away. The Great Divide Basin spans mostly to the west of where you are now, and covers almost 4,000 square miles of south central Wyoming. Though it is at an average of 6,500 feet above sea level, summer temperatures often get over 100 degrees. Winter temps go well below zero, and are pushed even colder in wind chill recordings. It is a difficult place to live, but never the less is home to large herds of deer, elk, and pronghorn.

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