Don’t Knock Wyoming ‘Til You’ve Tried It

If you had told me a year ago I’d be spending June in Gillette, Wyoming, I’d have called you a liar.  

But, here I am.  

And, that means that my current blog-worthy material is, again, Wyoming.

I haven’t had much occasion for days off while working for PAW (Performing Arts Workshop), but last Sunday I certainly made the best of it.

photo-5From Gillette, a drive up I-90 West takes you past the Big Horn Mountains (you know, like, THE Little Bighorn…) and straight into Montana. After a stop in charming Sheridan for lunch, we entered one of two open shops (Note: Sheridan on a Sunday is NOT, generally, open for business).  The cowboy/shopkeeper suggested a day trip through the mountains, and though I’m not often up for following a stranger’s directions without a plan, a map, or cell phone service, I was up for an adventure.  We drove further up I-90 to the Montana border (because we could), and then took a lengthy tour over the mountain range, down, and back again. Eight hours later, we were back in Gillette, having literally traversed the entire Northeast quadrant of the state on the advice of a few strangers.

What strikes me about this area of the country is how quickly the landscape changes.  The high plains shift to arid foothills, to red clay hills, tall, snowcapped mountains, and rolling green pastures.  Towns with populations smaller than the building I currently live in are scattered among cattle ranches, oil fields, and uninhabitable natural landscapes.

Here’s a peak at some of Wyoming’s NE corner:

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I-90 West toward the Bighorns
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The uninhabitable foothills
Into the mountains
Into the mountains
Shell Creek canyon and falls
Shell Creek canyon and falls
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Unattended gas station in Greybull

I won’t go on – I’ll just simply say that Wyoming is a pretty phenomenal place, and totally underrated.  I could have anticipated natural beauty and livestock, but what I didn’t expect to find here are kind, generous, tolerant people who take care of one another, and even take care of people they don’t know.

I guess when you live in a place where there aren’t that many people, you tend to value them more.

Published by

Lauren

Lauren Warnecke is the dance critic at the Chicago Tribune and editor/senior writer at See Chicago Dance. Her writing has appeared in Chicago Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Media publications, among others. Lauren is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago in the dance and exercise science programs. She has been a writer-in-residence at the Bates Dance Festival (Lewiston, ME) and the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience (Durban, South Africa), and was part of the first low-res dance writing lab cohort at the National Center for Choreography in Akron, OH. Since 2009, Lauren has blogged about dance and performance in the American midwest at artintercepts.org.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Knock Wyoming ‘Til You’ve Tried It”

  1. I’d like for us to do coffee sometime (especially before you go in the event your life in Chicago comes to a close). It would be my treat in that I’ve been meaning to consult with you regarding your expertise on personal training and gym joining. I’m unable to condense my questions well enough in email like I normally would- hope you understand.

    1. Hi Mark. It’s unlikely that I’m going to leave Chicago any time soon, no matter how I feel about Wyoming! Feel free to pop me an email and we can see about setting up a time. I’ll be back in town on the 25th.

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