To take my own spin on Dagobert Runes’ quote, “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home,” replace the second people with places – it’s amazing how far people will travel to see things that they can see in their own backyards. I’m guilty of this, like many others, and I’m not sure I can pinpoint a reason. Maybe it’s funner to get on the plane, in the car, etc, and go see that same stuff somewhere else. Maybe it’s cooler to have stamps in your passport. Who knows.
I’ve always been a believer in Wyoming being the most awesome place on the planet. We have it all… mountains, desert, forests, plains, hot springs, geysers, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, volcanos, small towns, history. So it was hard for me to stand in Landmannalaugar in the Icelandic highlands and go, “wow, I found a place more beautiful than Medicine Bow Peak.” But I did. And I fell in love with Iceland.
Then I began my yearly travels around Wyoming for work this spring, and just in a few short weeks realized Iceland really isn’t all that different than Wyoming, except with more water, lower altitude, and greener (with a very hard to pronounce ancient language). But many of the core things that I loved about Iceland I found in Wyoming and vice versa, and maybe that’s all why Iceland is so dear to me. Because it is so much like home. And my travels in Iceland have made Wyoming seem even brighter and lovelier.
My travels thus far this spring in Wyoming have taken me around Natrona, Niobrara, Platte, and Goshen counties in one loop, followed by a trip to the northeastern corner and north central region, and ended with a jaunt to the northwestern “infamous” corner of the state. It’s my third year of doing this sort of travel for work, and I wonder when the novelty would wear off. I mean, I am a homebody and the routine of remembering a different hotel room number every night, the same Hilton waffles for breakfast, and hours in the car gets tiring very quickly. But the call of Wyoming hasn’t. No matter how many times I’ve driven up and down a portion of highway, I see something different. Maybe it’s interesting cloud formations. Maybe it’s the landscape in a different season. Maybe it’s finally making that U-turn to grab a photo of something cool.
I have lots of ideas of short trips around Wyoming to explore new things, and things I haven’t seen since I was a child. I’m excited to begin all this exploration of my backyard, even if it doesn’t give me a glamorous stamp in my passport (but it should give me stamps in my National Parks Passport so…….)!
Here’s a collection of photos from my late-March/early-April Wyoming work travel explorations. (I really need to start bringing my DSLR on work trips with me – side note! I’m so limited by my iPhone when it comes to landscape photography.)
My Wyoming work travel is done for a few months, but it has inspired me to take some weekend road trips to see all the things. I also picked up Roadside Geology of Wyoming, so I’m geeking out on all the science of Wyoming, and getting more excited.