One of only six states with a state dinosaur (I’m genuinely not kidding) and one of only 13 states with an official state sport – rodeo, one three states to have that particular official state sport. Where outlaw Harry Longabaugh got his moniker ‘the Sundance Kid’. Where Nellie Ross was born, America’s first female governor. And, erm, Wyoming’s only (to date). Home of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone. The first American state to give women the right to vote. Home of America’s first national monument, Devils Tower, and America’s first national forest, Shoshone. And this state has only two sets of escalators. No idea why. Today, we’re in the Equality State, Wyoming.
Wyoming is a state in Midwest America, bordered Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Utah. It is the least populated state with nearly 600,000 people, but is the 10th largest state at nearly 98,000 square miles. The state was given its name by J.M. Ashley of Ohio, who stole it from Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. The name comes from an old Munsee word meaning ‘at the big river flat’. A name that has no connection whatsoever with Wyoming, but there we are. The flag of this state was cleverly designed to match the shape of this state. Probably. The red symbolises ‘the Native Americans and the blood of pioneers who gave their lives’ and the blue the colour of the sky and the mountains. Hang on, mountains aren’t blue. Gee. The rather unoriginal motto of this state is ‘Equal Rights’. Perhaps it’s so sparsely populated they couldn’t form a big enough committee to come up with something better. What about, ‘Nowhere’s Squarer!’ Hmm?
Wyoming is a true Old Western land, offering a quintessential western experience drenched in culture and history. A traditional state, offering a simpler pace of life. Wyomingites are proud of that history, a strong and independent folk who love and respect the land. They are welcoming and friendly to the millions of tourists who visit each year.
The state is defined by its wide-open spaces, its big blue sky and its remote and unspoilt scenery. There are rangelands, prairies and mountain ranges. It’s a haven for hardcore outdoor enthusiasts too, and it’s easy to see why. Its rugged beauty is alluring.
There are sights to see such as the amazingly durous mural that is Wind River Canyon, paradoxically canorous yet resilient. And how could one not mention Yellowstone National Park? Impossible to sum up, really. It’s truly amazing. Then there’s Flaming Gorge (I love American place names). A pulchritudinous ribbon of blue weaving its way around a wonderful landscape of tough, harsh and steep rock faces, screaming a raimentless elegance like a fine poem of old. And then there’s Grand Teton National Park. Fields of green and water blue, with the hard yet gentle grey mountains in the background. It’s like a painting capable of ameliorating one’s soul. It’s a stunning empyrean landscape.
But I think the best sight of the state is the famous Devils Rock, appearing in the movie ‘Close Encounters’. It’s a 5,000-foot tall rock marvel, its streaked facade made of thin columns of rock that are clumped together like clumps of clay. An unearthly delight that consumes one with a sense of mystery and awe. It’s an Elysian monument, an incicurable gallimaufry rising triumphantly from the rugged and simplistic plains that surround it. It is steeped in a grace and beauty quite unlike anything else on Earth.
Wyoming. The state of the Old West, equality, and a distinct lack of escalators.
Images: 1) The flag of Wyoming (credit: wikimedia.org), 2) Devils Tower (credit: science.nationalgeographic.com), 3) Grand Teton National Park (credit: globeimages.net)
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