Wyoming for has not been completed for this trip. The threat of cold weather and snow kept us from heading to yellowstone national park. Time and cash flow kept us from thermopolis. We did spend 3 weeks visiting with family and heading out to see places that are unique in wyoming. SO … here are our first tidd bits.
First off Wyoming is beautiful though not for everyone – it is definitely rugged land. With it’s arid climate, high winds, and sparse population it can leave you feeling a bit off at times. Staying in douglas wyoming – a town in the middle of a boom – even my wife who is an introvert felt there were not enough people and we were too far away from service options. On the other hand this is the reason most people move to wyoming.
Douglas, Wyoming is in an oil boom that has been ramping up for years. Land and housing cost almost as much as Denver and is scarce. They are building hotels and developing some areas but cannot do it quick enough. Fuel prices are 20 cents higher than other cities and towns we drove through, and food prices are higher. The oil companies pay well and are driving up the costs, but it appears that only oil workers, foreign family members and landlords are profiting from the economic situation here. Farmers and ranchers appear to be holding their own but the workers, teachers, and service related individuals have seen little increase in pay in years. There is also this innate dislike for greenies – people from colorado, and what appears to be your typical semi-celeb status for anyone with a founding family name ( my wife says “Mystic Falls Much?”). All that aside it’s still a small town that is worth a visit and for some it’s worth setting up shop to take advantage of this economic success.
So enough socio-economic stuff.
Jackalopes … that’s right mythic rabbits with antlers. They are EVERY WHERE! I even scored a hunting permit but didn’t have any luck actually getting one. There are even some giant ones to be found around town, one guarding the aptly named Jackalope square and one guarding the tourist center / interpretive train center if you have a few hours check it out.
I struggle to say the words without envisioning some guy in a leotard squishing bananas against his face while awkwardly moving to music but wyoming seems to be full of interpretive centers. Thankfully they are not as bad as the images that come to mind with interpretive dance.
The interpretive train center was actually fun. It was one of the few places with older trains that we have seen that allow you to walk through the trains when weather is good.
About 30 minutes north of Douglas there is a natural bridge called Ayres Natural bridge http://www.wyomingtourism.org/thingstodo/detail/Ayres-Natural-Bridge/4806 This is a beautiful park that is maintained for camping and gatherings, it’s very manicured (which I wasn’t expecing) and is fun for a day trip or overnight camping. Interestingly enough they are strict about open and close times and chain lock the gate sharply at 8:00 regardless if you intend on camping there. You can also play in the stream below the arch or climb on top of it! There are picnic tables, play grounds and sand volleyball pits. The church we attended while in douglas also conducts their baptisms in the river that runs through this park.
Walking the North Platte River
I spend a bit of time fishing this in Colorado, it’s fun to see it here too and see how it’s not that much different. There is a site of an old fort here with some interesting history.
Bearcat? The Douglass high school football team! Highly ranked and hoping to take state this year. Football is a big deal in small towns so if you are there on a friday night show some love and buy some cheap snacks at the snack booth.
We also had a lot of fun with family. Thank you Darren and Sherri for letting us take over for a few weeks. It was a good time.
There is more that we did in wyoming that I will link to from here over time as I post more.