I travel a lot for work. I am usually going somewhere in Wyoming every week. It’s pretty awesome because it gets me out of the office and also allows me to see some pretty cool things while I drive around the state. A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Lander and Worland with a stop-over in Thermopolis, which is quickly becoming my favorite town. Hot springs, baby!
So anywho, on this particular trip I made a pit-stop and saw a sign for Fort Fred Steele. (http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Site/SiteInfo.aspx?siteID=20)
My curiosity got the best of me and I thought I would check it out. Just a mile or so down the road from the rest area it didn’t seem too off the beaten path to take a quick look around. It was pretty cool. Not much is left of it, mostly a ghost town at this point, but still really neat to stand in a place run-down by time and the relocation of a road. I have an affinity for lonely and abandoned places and this one surely fit the bill.
The site of the fort is really pretty. It sits on the North Platte River and there are actual trees there! I must be too “westernized” at this point where a grove of trees could actually be a novelty. After growing up in MN, where trees and actual forests abound everywhere, I never thought I could get used to a place where a tree is a rarity. Such is life, though.
Most of the buildings are gone and the few that do remain are little museums that were closed for the season when I rolled through. After looking in the windows I decided I would like to return and bring the kids with me for a tour and a history lesson.
The two chimneys are all that are left of the officer’s quarters.
Enlisted barracks. 12 men in this tiny area which also included a kitchen. The sign said there was little room for anything besides cots and no real entertainment for the enlisted men. In the desolate Wyoming winter I can only imagine what they went through!
An old stove found in the enlisted barracks.
I made it to Lander, got what I needed there and high-tailed it out of town because a storm was coming and I wasn’t driving a trusty-SUV (and to be perfectly honest that scared me). I drove to Thermopolis that night and had a good soak in the natural hot springs hot tub at the hotel. Lovely! Also, no snow that night so double bonus.
On the way to Thermopolis I drove the project I was working on and so I had some time to explore the Wind River Reservation. Beautiful piece of countryside. The storm was moving in and it looked awesome coming over the mountains.
Storm rolling in from the west over the Tetons.
It was a grey day but that didn’t stop the scenery from being gorgeous as I took the southern pass over the Big Horns.
As I drove up into the mountains visibility became increasingly worse and soon I was driving through this:
However, there is always a silver lining! The fog cleared and I came upon a lovely grove of fall trees. The only way it could have been better is if there had been a bright blue sky. I still thought it was awesome how the fog cleared and the first thing I saw were the trees. Maybe it was the fact that there were trees… I’m not taking bets.