A Trip

2002-07-10

Wyoming, from which I just returned on vacation, is a funny place. The best I can figure, the most advanced parts of the state are about 30 years behind the times. Saratoga, one of the towns we stayed in and home of my favorite hot springs, is more like 40 years behind the times. Some Wyoming hamlets, such as Jeffrey City, haven't changed at all since the Great Depression, it seems. The other place we stayed was a cabin in the near-wilderness of the Beartooth Mountains, which I'd say was perhaps 60 or 70 years out of date. Don't get me wrong, these places have electricity and refrigerators and such, but that's about it. Our cabin was nearly equidistant from Cody, Wyoming (population 8,000) and Red Lodge, Montana (population 2,000), but it was at least 90 minutes from either of those towns to the cabin, and there is nothing in between except some of the most wild country I've ever seen, either on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (photos) or the even more hair-raising Beartooth Scenic Byway (photos).

For whatever reason, Wyoming seems to be almost deliberately out of date and "primitive". It's a rough state, and they're not about to soften the edges up there, since Wyoming folks have a real frontier attitude. Sometime I'll post a blog entry about the new frontier (the American West) vs. the old frontier (which in my experience is best found in northern New England, since Americans "escaped" there before the West was settled, which lends places like Maine something of a continuing frontier feeling). But I don't have time to post about that right now, so I'll have to do so some other time.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal