Wandering Southwest in Wyoming

Yesterday (Tuesday) we were in Thermopolis, WY. They are famously the home of the world’s largest mineral hot spring. (Well, not super famous. Keep in mind, everything we learn we are discovering on-the-fly. We didn’t go to Thermopolis with any knowledge of what the town offered, it’s all just what we find when we get there.) Anyway, back to the world’s largest mineral hot springs, we learned there was a treaty signed in 1896 with Indian tribes that requires the state to maintain free public access to the springs year round. Honoring this stipulation, the facility is a simple, basic bathhouse. We saw about 4 people out in the pool through the glass window behind the reception. The temp must have been over 90°F yesterday and the idea of sitting in 110°F water was painful. So we opted to walk around the springs and surrounding state park. There is also a fun-for-kids water slide park utilizing the hot springs that is much more lively than the meditative atmosphere in the public bathhouse.

On our way out of town we visited something new to Wyoming – whiskey production. Wyoming Whiskey is the first legal distillery in the history of the state. They’ve been in production since 2009 but the public won’t get to try their goods for another 2-6 years depending on when the master distiller says it’s time to bottle. They’ve just filled their 2,000th barrel, so when it finally hits the shelves, there should be plenty to keep up with demand.

Today we are in Lander, WY. We learned the Eagle Bronze Foundry is right here in town and they give tours. It was another incredibly informative tour for us, this time walking through the entire process of creating a bronze sculpture. This foundry works with Arturo Di Modica, famous for his bull down on Broadway in the Financial District, and we saw several more of his works in various stages of development. Several other artists use this foundry and they create many monuments here. Today a WWII memorial was being moved to its final home where there will be a dedication ceremony held. We watched as they loaded it onto a trailer.

The final thing I’ll mention is South Pass City, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This whole town is frozen in time from the gold rush days of the late 1800’s. It took us about 2 hours to walk through this town looking at every building. We learned how they mine gold, about Wyoming’s biggest gold rush and subsequent bust, and more about how folks lived in the late 1800’s. Not on the “must see” list, but interesting.

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