Over two very different days, I walked the perimeter of Laramie. Just to do it, and to get a better sense of the lay of the land. I love the topography of this high prairie plain and it draws me out. I can see the rise of the land to the east and west, and both beckon. I think about the pioneers who traveled through here on their way to California and how many of them probably decided this was good and far enough.
There’s so much history in this area. Walking the land is a good place to begin to learn about it.
As I walked, I tried to imagine what those early travelers saw. I looked out and away from the border of suburban neighborhoods and knew this was the same view those early wayfarers had (minus a few lingering telephone poles and a modern structure or two).
The first day was chilly and lightly snowing. I filled my daypack with snacks, water, an extra jacket and my camera. I headed west toward the downtown district and crossed the Garfield St. Bridge, connected with the Laramie River Greenbelt and continued north, skirting the housing developments as much as possible.
Started here – Garfield St. Bridge.
On the edge of suburbia. Looking back to Highway 287 as a truck goes north. I walked east.
The eastern plains socked in.
I traversed the boundary between fields and pavement and came upon this square dance hall across from a golf course.
Little-known fact: I took square dancing in college for a P.E. credit and loved it!
A mile or so later, I followed a road which turned into the university grounds and saw the cone-shaped roof of the art museum in the distance. (This is where I visited the Japanese art exhibit which I wrote about in this post.) I decided this would be my last stop for the day before getting a late lunch in the cafe at the library.
Don’t judge an art museum by its concrete facade. This nondescript entrance belies the significant and beautiful exhibits on display inside.
We’ll continue this tour, but first, a few facts about Wyoming:
* Wyoming has the lowest population of all 50 states (576,626).
* Yellowstone National Park, located in the NW corner of the state, was the first national park in the world, established in 1872. (Sections of the park extend into Idaho and Montana.)
* Devils Tower was the first national monument, established in 1906, and was one of the locations for the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
* In 1869, Wyoming became the first state to give women the right to vote.
* Nellie Tayloe Ross, of Wyoming, was the first woman governor in the United States.
There were a lot of firsts for women in Wyoming.
Part II of my perimeter walk occurred a few days later with much better weather.
I returned to the east part of the university to continue where I left off. It was a fantastic day for walking.
Looking east toward the southern end of the Laramie Mountains on the horizon.
And west – the Medicine Bow Mountains are beyond.
I passed through a few parks.
And walked through neighborhoods with contrasting appeal…
some with character…
others not so much.
I looped south toward I-80 and returned to downtown on 3rd Avenue.
(Actually, Big Hollow Co-op.)
It’s only fair to warn anyone with such inclinations:
I walked about 3 1/2 hours each day, and a total of 22-24 miles. I celebrated with a coffee at Coal Creek Coffee Co. and felt that I had a much better understanding of the layout of Laramie.
* * *
Several nights later, I walked into the deep twilight and was struck by the profound beauty of the darkening western horizon. The black and glittered sky and the stillness that descended over the streets were reminders that these, for me, are the signposts of home. And, for this season, that will be on these wide open acres.