So the location of the hour is Wyoming. Wyoming? Really, you ask. Yes, really. Let us peruse the reasons why one would ever want to travel to this place of the United States’ northwestern region……
1. The High Plains and the Rocky Mountain West. Just look:
2. The U.S. Census reported the population at barely half a million (522,830) while the state is the the tenth largest in area. That’s a lot of great open space for not too many Wyomingites. This is definitely a location one would go to not be bothered. My guess, to escape, run away, forget. Gretel Erlich wrote a autobiographical style piece called The Solace of Open Spaces. I took this course in college called Writing the Environment with Comparative Literature Professor Susan Jarratt. She was probably one of the sweetest most passionate professors I had, however beside the point. In this class we read books by Gary Snyder (the man Jack Kerouac modeled character Jaffy after in Dharma Bums, among others), others about the stark nature of Utah’s Arches and one about taking care of camels in Australia (Tracks). Great stuff. But Erlich’s piece was a little different, at least for me. This woman traveled to Wyoming for a vacation and didn’t return for three years. She went for a refreshing escape after some rougher times and received some enlightening perspectives. She worked on a ranch and learned the ways about not only sheep herding but men as well (which is the sole reason she went to Wyoming in the first place, to get away from men). And the state’s identity could essentially be summed up in an off-hand observation by Erlich in The Solace of Open Spaces, “We have only to look at the houses we build to see how we build against space, the way we drink against pain and loneliness. We fill up space as if it were a pie shell, with things whose opacity further obstructs our ability to see what is already there”(15). It is an idea that endless amounts of writers, artists, musicians have paid homage to and will continue to do so until the end of time.
3. Wyoming is one of only three states to have their boundaries not determined by natural surroundings. Lat and long, only. (fun fact #1)
4. Yellowstone National Park…..duh. The world’s first national park, 1872. (fun fact #2)
5. The first state to grant women suffrage. Along with this, Wyoming was first for a lot of political movements involving women. Thus, they granted themselves the name “The Equality State.”
6. Jackson Pollack is from Wyoming…..(fun fact #3)
7. And finally Jackson Hole. Ahhh, how I love to ski.