So, I am in love with this land like I never have been before. Driving through Wyoming today I told Chris and Monkey that as much as it is a miracle that this is all one country, at the same time you look at how beautiful and magnificent it is and think that once they saw this, people couldn’t help but come west. Doesn’t excuse the genocides and other bad decisions, but just the same, for the first time I feel like I understand why so many people endured so much to be here.

Back to today. Wyoming is really interesting geographically–well, I’m interested. If you’re not, skip this bit. It starts like this, like western Nebraska, sandy hills and grasslands.

Then, it gets more hilly, where the Colorado Rockies to the south sweep into the state just a bit. It was in this section that I discovered the idea of a highway that could close:

It re-opened after about half an hour, and in the meantime we got to talk with a really nice local guy, and look at the fields some. I didn’t recognize a single plant and was flipping out, and then I saw dandelions and thought, “It’s gonna be okay.”

Next came a brief section of serious mountains. As in snow on the ground and it smelled like Christmas trees. There was a Lincoln monument all of a sudden, so on behalf of President Obama, we stopped and paid our respects.

I really love the chill at the monument, but Monkey got cold.

So we made it past that bit of mountains, and then at Laramie there was just this enormous plain/valley. For some perspective, it took us something like 2+ hours to drive through.

After that, the mountain cause a rain shadow effect, which is when the moisture essentially never makes it up and over the mountains. So the land became very dry and desert-y. It was gorgeous. People always say that deserts are gorgeous, and I’ve always been very skeptical of that, but you know? It really was.

So, tonight we’re in Rawlins. We’re going to get up early tomorrow morning and head to Yellowstone. We’ll be there a day or maybe two, and then on to Seattle!