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.
From 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:
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.