Over the Continental Divide
We are establishing a strong morning routine having moved on each day - but we were definitely looking forward to settling in for a little longer in Jackson Hole, our next stop.
To begin with, we were driving through that familiar scrubby, flat landscape, retracing our steps from yesterday afternoon and heading towards Lander, just outside the Wind River Indian Reservation where we’d stayed last night, in Riverton.
Once through the town, the countryside became a little more “comfortable”, a bit greener and more fertile. A few hills appeared on the horizon too - a taste of things to come.
We fetched up on the other side of town, at the Museum of the American West which we’d read about when planning our day. Described as a collection of pioneer buildings from around the area, the fact that it was free of charge was the icing on the cake.
When we stepped inside though, the greeting was anything but welcoming and the $5 each wasn’t quite what we were expecting. Never mind - our information seemed to be out of date, so we paid up and asked for a guide or a map or something. But apparently, it was all self-guided - prompting the question about the outdoor buildings wihich particularly interested us. Oh dear. We’d come to the wrong museum it seemed. Next door was the volunteer-operated Pioneer Museum, which was our intended destination. Our $5 fees were refunded and having offered both thanks and apologies, we went next door!
Here was a different experience altogether. A couple of jolly women were there in the office and explained that all the buildings were open and we were welcome to wander around as we wished.
For the next hour or so, that’s exactly what we did.
We “met” a group of formidable women, teachers and community leaders by means of a collection of pen portraits in the first building. Wyoming is doing a great job of celebrating the women of the state right now.
We went inside the sherriff’s house; he who arrested Butch Cassidy all those years ago.
He’d made a brave choice of colour for his kitchen!
The newspaper office had a great collection of Wanted posters too - and drawers of type and other paraphernalia associated with a local press.
What a great place - and how well kept this whole collection of buildings were; all thanks to a team of volunteers who tended the gardens and cleaned the houses regularly. We were so pleased we came - and even more pleased we got it right in the end and didn’t find ourselves spending the morning inside a stuffy museum.
Back on the road for 15 miles or so, we’d almost passed this small lake when I spotted the reflection and made a quick snap. Sorry about the blur, but aren’t the colours lovely?
There was plenty of colour at our next stop too - yes, you are correct, it is a graveyard. It’s on the Wind River reservation and the graves are those of members of that community, including one we have come across on more than one occasion on our road trips.
We were here to visit the grave of Sacagewea, the young woman who travelled with Lewis and Clark on their expeditions. We had last come across her in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she featured alongside other women who’d played a part in the history of the state.- Ginger Rogers, Josephine Baker and Laura Ingalls Wilder amongst others. She remains one of those characters we connect with in some way - and as soon as we read that she was buried nearby, we decided to come and pay a visit.
It’s always interesting to see how other cultures manage these small rituals. Where we might have left a flower or lit a candle at the foot of the memorial, there were pine cones, pebbles and cigarettes.
Her grave was a little way away, alongside those of her sons and with other family members nearby. We’ll choose to ignore any doubts as to her true identity and simply acknowlege another remarkable woman who made a real difference to the world in which she lived.
With quiet respect for the people who are remembered in this beautifully peaceful place, we returned to the car. I wonder where we will encounter Sacagewea again?
There were a few more miles to go to our next stop, so it was time to get the knitting out.
The young woman on the desk of the Frontier Trails museum in Casper had given us a card with a link to a Spotify playlist on too and having downloaded it when we had wifi access, it was time to listen. Where better to listen to a Wyoming Road Trip playlist?
But how could I knit with countryside like this passing by the window?
And Lesley, I know it’s not the Devils Tower, but I think Crowheart Butte comes pretty close, don’t you?
It wasn’t long before we were in Dubois, known around here as “Do-boys” and suddenly, we were in tourist territory. That came as a bit of a surprise!
Another surprise - just how fascinating can it be to visit the National Bighorn Sheep Centre?
Very much so, actually. These animals are native to this small part of the country and although visiting a collection of stuffed animals sounds dull and a bit creepy, believe me, this was anything but. It’s all down to the staff - or volunteers - who are knowledgeable and eager to share their enthusiasm, as they were here. Full marks from us!
A glimpse of the mountains was just around the corner; perhaps that was the reason for the sudden influx of “tourist attractions”?
Just like yesterday though, the heavens seemed to be suggesting we needed to get a move on.
My Hero was interested to see the Tie Hack Memorial high above the roadside, but not quite interested. enough to climb the steep stairway to take a closer look!
We all jumped out of the car in double quick time to go and take a look from the scenic viewpoint, high above the Togwotee Pass though.
From here, it was a simple drive downhill to Jackson Hole.
We made it!