One of our first stops today was the Rock in the Glen, a big ol’ solitary rock in a valley. Here I saw a new type of animal: the pronghorn. I was legit excited and then we also saw them everywhere all day. Supposedly they outnumber people in Wyoming.
Today we went to a very tourist-friendly museum that was also surprisingly decent. It was the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, WY. Corey says there are two more in other cities farther along. The exhibits were actually very cute. There was a motion simulation wagon ride that was essentially Star Tours (if you’re familiar with that), an interactive telegraph exhibit, a simulated ride in a Wells Fargo stagecoach, and other silly interactive things. Also, we saw a lizard in the parking lot.
For the next two hours, we traveled 40-some miles on backcountry unpaved dirt roads to see various things (Avenue of Rocks, Willow Spring, Prospect Hill, etc.). Most of this was through open pasture, so we saw a lot of cattle right next to, or in, the road. And at one point I saw a prairie dog run across the road. So basically it was a good day to see new animals.
Later, we saw Independence Rock. Corey climbed to the top and evidently there were more carvings. Supposedly, if you were traveling the Oregon Trail by wagon (a 6 month journey) and reached Independence Rock by Independence Day, you were on track to arrive before the snows started.
We also saw Devil’s Gate and Split Rock, both rock formations, and the site of the Ice Slough, where pioneers used to be able to dig into the dirt and find ice year-round.
We arrived in Lander, WY and checked into our (again, surprisingly decent) motel. Lander may be an actually cool place; it has a microbrewery, several on-trend restaurants, a bicycle shop in an old industrial building, the movie theater attendant talked to me about my Game of Thrones t-shirt, etc. It is not a big town at all (<8000 people), but it probably the most hipstery place we’ve seen since Ohio and until Oregon.