My wife Nancy hates one of my favorite phrases, where I talk about my “bucket list,” which lists things I want to do before I die.
She prefers the term “fun list,” and to quit referring to death. OK, OK, so it is time again to do a fun list of things in Wyoming this year. How does that sound?
I have been writing these lists for awhile and am frankly amazed at both how many we have done but also however many are still out there waiting to be experienced.
This year I hope to visit Brush Creek Ranch near Saratoga, attend the annual Fr. DeSmet Catholic Mass outside of Daniel (it commemorates the first Catholic service ever done here in the Cowboy State), and really tour the far western and southwestern parts of Wyoming.
This year I reached out to some friends for their ideas. Here’s what I got:
Former State Rep. Pete Illoway reminded folks of the grand opening July 10 of the newly refurbished State Capitol in Cheyenne. It will be a wonderful experience, he assures.
Jim Stewart likes all Wyoming’s wonderful museums and gave a plug for his favorite, the Pioneer Museum in Lander, which hosts free Indian dances every Wednesday during the summer.
Debbie Hammons, formerly of Worland, had a dream job of hosting Main Street Wyoming on the PBS station. Here is what she said:
“You never mentioned any of the fantastic re-enactment events that occur around the state. I love them because people from all over the state who are reenactors participate. It’s their hobby to be incredibly authentic. It’s so fun to watch them and hear their stories and answers to questions.
“To mention a few: Fort Phil Kearney Days between Buffalo and Sheridan with frontier era encampment; Fort Caspar — not sure what they call their special days when the reenactors are there; Casper also has local history buffs who have developed characters and they take you on tours like the Sand Bar District; Fort Laramie may do it much of the summer; Pinedale has the Mountain Man Rendezvous; Labor Day has a huge Mountain Man gathering at Fort Bridger; and, of course, the Powwows on the Wind River Reservation. Oh, do not forget the Mormon handcarts at Muddy Gap and Sweetwater Station.”
Retired teacher Barb Hunt of Lander does lots of traveling with her husband Gene. She says: “Last summer we tried to get to all the state parks that had a lake, and will be continuing on that, as it isn’t possible to spend time at so many places, in just one summer.
“But there are two things that were on my bucket list that are Lander-based, and we could suggest you think of those. I always wanted to fly over the Wind River Mountains (highest in the state) in a small plane, and we found that Andy Gramlich does that at a reasonable cost.
“We camped and backpacked in many of the areas but they look so different from the air. I contacted Andy about the first of September and explained what we wanted, so he knew we needed good weather. A couple of weeks later he called and we got to see everything, ending with a pass over our house on the North Fork of the Popo Agie. Andy knows the area and we felt safe.
“The other thing on my list was a horse pack trip up in the mountains starting in the Dickinson park area, so that was with Jim Allen. More expensive than the plane ride, but we had a wonderful week — they just dropped us off at our campsite and returned a week later to bring us back.
“Of course we had our backpacking gear so we were on our own. They also will take you in and supply everything — Jesse Allen (former Miss Wyoming) took a group of yoga enthusiasts the day that we went out (with our wranglers and three packhorses) but they supplied everything for them and she was with them for their week. I wanted to do that as a last good bye to the high country as I cannot backpack anymore. We actually went to an area that was completely new to us, and saw very few other people there.”
John Davis of Worland wants to hang around the Oregon Trail this summer. Just not sure where but “just hang around” and take it in, he concluded.
I hope to be his tour guide.
Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books. His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find them at www.wyomingwonders.com.