Welcome to Wyoming Wyoming is the least populous state in the USA, its sparse territories split between high prairie and mountain, with half of the state owned by the Federal government, largely in national parks and forests. It is also one of the most racially homogenous states, with over 90% of the population classified as white, but you can go a long way without seeing anyone except the truckers driving in the opposite direction.

Road to the Rockies Wyoming That is not to say that the big open plains are dull, just that the excitement is spread thin. The distant Rockies add an air of expectation and there are some interesting stops along the road. The USA has a great system of putting up historic markers all over the place. Some are of purely local interest, but most provide an insight into the development of the USA. I was particularly interested in a "Buffalo Jump", a large naturally occuring pit into which Indians would stampede buffalo before they had guns and horses. Vore Buffalo Jump Signange WY There is also a marker I stopped by which was placed where the cattle would stop for the night on the trail that ran north from Texas to Montana, a trek of over 1000 miles. The cattle were brought up to graze where previously the buffalo roamed, but the trip must have been arduous for both the cattle and the cowboys as each section needed to bring them to a place where there would be sufficient water and grazing. Wyoming Moorcraft Texas Trail Sign Apparently they typically made no more than 20 miles a day.

Sheridan was an interesting stopover with an authentic feel and some nicely preserved old buildings, most notably the Sheridan Inn, reputedly once the finest inn between Chicago and San Francisco and managed at one time by Buffalo Bill Cody.

Irma Buffalo Bill Hotel Cody WY Buffalo Bill is closely associated with Wyoming, founding the town that took his name, Cody, and having a reservoir and State Park named after him. Part scout, part hunter, part showman, part entrepeneur, his Wild West roadshow made it as far as Europe and was even seen by Queen Victoria. He used to audition for cast members both on the porch of the Sheridan Inn and outside his hotel in Cody, the Irma, named after his daughter. Cody Rodeo WY Part of the show would have been rodeo, and Cody is probably the rodeo capital of the USA. The more about Cody you read the more sympathetic he comes across, for behind the bravado seemed a genuinely huamne and thoughtful individual.

Road through Buffalo Bill State Park WY

I suspect most people who visit Wyoming come to visit the Yellowstone National Park. Taking myself as a sample, that hypothesis would be 100% correct. Although most of the roads in the Park were due to close within a week or two for winter, I still expected there to be a fair number of other visitors.

Bears and Moose on the loose WY

From Cody the route to Yellowstone passes through the Buffalo Bill State Park and Shoshone National Forest before arriving at the East Gate. From temperatures in the seventies on the plains, the thermometer in my car recorded temperatures below freezing as I drove up to the first high pass in Yellowstone.

Nic Old Faithful Geyser I never did get to see any bears or moose, but saw various other wildlife, including buffalo. I knew Yellowstone was famous for its geothermal activity, but was amazed at how alive the park is, with steam rising from the ground all over the place and interesting thermal pools and rock formations in abundance. Of course I had to see Old Faithful errupt, although despite the name the geyser errupted about ten minutes before the rangers expected it.

Biscuit Basin Yellowstone

The continental divide, that line which determines which side of the continent water runs off, passes through Yellowstone. Isa Lake Yellowstone WY Most interestingly it passes through a small lake (the Isa Lake) from where, uniquely, icy water flows out of both ends, one side to end up in the Pacific, the other in the waters of the Gulf Coast.

The West Gate out of Yellowstone takes me to Idaho, and my next overnight stop.

Old Faithful Geyser Eruption Yellowstone

Skiing Jackson Hole

My wife basically compelled me to ski Jackson Hole. It wasn't convenient, but in the end it fitted in with trying to ski as diverse a range of slopes as possible and to take in the steepest resorts in North America. The reason she convinced me to go was that some well-to-do, athletic and likeable relatives of hers always skied there when they were in North America. Their resort of choice in Europe was Verbier, and although Verbier is more extensive there are similarities. Jackson Hole has skiing as challenging as that found around Verbier, and Jackson is a swanky town, with a touch of Gstaad about it.