One of the first things we do in each new place is get a library card. I then clean them out of every local travel guide, which I renew online for the next 12 weeks. (Sorry to anyone in Rock Springs who wants to know anything about the area for the next two months – I called dibs).
I also love to get books (mostly historical fiction) relating to the area we’re in. In California, our friend Lexie gave me a great book that was set in Antioch (thanks, Lex!). In Arizona, I read a lot of books based in the southwest, and just yesterday I picked up a couple of books on women homesteading in Wyoming. I’ve always loved to read, and it’s even better when you have some real-life experience with the setting being described.
One particular book is comprised of original writings, such as letters, articles, and memoirs, of single women who homesteaded in our area. In reading the introduction last night, it says that many of them describe coming west purely out of an overwhelming need to satisfy their pent-up sense of curiosity and adventure.
I think we can relate to that! So with the same spirit of, “I wonder what it’s like over there…” Charlie and I have found ourselves on some fun adventures lately.
First, we drove 22 miles through the open range on the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Loop. This area is known for a large herd of wild horses, and we were able to see eight on the morning we went.
Seeing their silhouettes against the prairie horizon and knowing they’d never been ridden made for a beautiful sight. Two of them even let us get really close! They must get a lot of us tourists driving out to see them since they were so calm as our car approached. The morning also blessed us with a couple of antelope sightings, a friendly badger and gorgeous views of the areas we’d only seen from the interstate below.
Our next adventure was the Wyoming Big Show, otherwise known as the local county fair. Most county fairs I’ve been to are more like carnivals. We were so excited to realize this was a legit county fair, with 4H livestock contests and auctions included! The kids in local 4H clubs bring their prized animals – chickens, turkeys, rabbits, pigs, lambs – to be judged and then they auction them off to local ranchers.
Some of the lambs went for over a thousand dollars and you don’t even want to know what people were paying for pigs. Watching a tiny nine year old boy try to march his huge pig around the auction ring would never have gotten old! (hence the out of focus picture above – the iPhone doesn’t like anything that moves and this little guy was on the move chasing his pig!)
These kids definitely spend their time differently than we did growing up. While I was getting up before dawn to go surfing, they’re up before the sun to milk their prize cow.
And, of course, no real county fair would be complete without food contests. I loved looking over all the blue-ribbon cakes, pies, jellies, canned vegetables and heirloom desserts. We even sat in on one judging and scored a piece of the winning carrot cake! I was so bummed to learn that you could enter on the day of the contest, because I totally would have made something in hopes of being able to hang a “WY Big Show Blue Ribbon” on my mantle.
After all that western immersion, Charlie worked for a few days and I met with the volunteer coordinator at the hospital. I’m hoping to begin helping out in the ER by the end of the week, which will definitely be a new experience! But three days of being mostly inside through beautiful weather meant we were itching for another adventure before long.
This past Saturday, after a breakfast of banana pancakes, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s just go for a drive.”
What started as a short trip to get out of the house turned into one of those days where giving in to your sense of curiosity and adventure is rewarded big time!
More to come soon!