A Travellerspoint blog

December 2010

After a week in Wyoming...

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View Round the World Gap Year 2010-11 on AlTiffany2's travel map.

As my time in Laramie draws to a close, I am trying to remember everything I have done in this past week - the list is a long one! The weather last week was great; clear skies and sun, although very cold (and going down to about -20 C some nights). The weather has closed in somewhat recently however; we had about 8 inches of snow last night and it's still falling now. I've taken this as an opportunity to update this blog and keep everyone informed of my movements over the last week.

Firstly, Tom and I went ice fishing on frozen Lake Crystal in Curt Gowdy State Park, about half way between Laramie and the state capital Cheyenne. DSCF1139_-_Copy.jpg
Tom has built his own 'ice house' out of wood and canvas, to protect against the weather on a bad day, which we dragged out onto the lake on skis. However, the sun was shining and most of the time we spent out in the open.
I caught seven fish (not bad for a first timer!) The ice was about 5 inches thick, however now and again there were very loud cracks and the ice would split a good distance. Tom assured me that it was perfectly safe, although I have to say I was a little nervous at first!

Later that day I went flying in Tom's Cessna Skyhawk. I've never flown a plane before and, with a little help, I took off, flew and landed it. The views of the Laramie Basin and surrounding Rocky Mountains were breathtaking. We flew past a few Golden Eagle nests and saw one soaring up close.
Just over the border into Colorado we got a great view of some Hoodoos (rock pillars) and, on the way back home, buzzed really close over Jan's house (well, Tom and I thought it was funny!)

(There should be some videos here - if not please see the 'Videos' section of my profile here on Travellerspoint to see them. If you still can't get them please let me know and I'll try to fix it!)

The next day we went up into the mountains to shoot some of Tom's guns. We made some targets out of cardboard.
I fired a .22 rifle and a .22 automatic pistol first.

Then moved on to an old British .303 rifle made in 1941 (I was most accurate with this).
Finally, I had a go with Tom's Dad's Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolver (loud and very powerful!)
Tom said he was impressed with my shooting (would've passed US army weapons training, apparently - again, not bad for a first timer!)

Snow shoeing and cross-country skiing were yet more new experiences. We went up into the Medicine Bow National Forest and - for the most part - cut our own tracks in the powdery back country, exploring the silent wonderland we had entirely to ourselves.
That's one of the great things about Wyoming, it's so easy to get away from it all. On our skiing day, Tom and I stopped in the middle of the forest, built a fire and sat by it eating our lunch.

I spent most of Monday with Jan's friend's grandson, Ian. We played a bit of football (soccer) and basketball at the public recreational center. Then we went back to his house and played pool. We are roughly the same age and it was really interesting to talk about the similarities and differences between being a student here and back home in England.

Today I visited the geology museum at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
They have loads of really impressive displays of dinosaurs and other fossils - mostly discovered locally.
They have the famous Allosaurus called 'Big Al' - at home we have a video about the life of this dinosaur so it was quite a surprise to suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, meet him face to face!
(Above, Big Al and me.)

Finally, I had some great news the other morning. St. Peter's College, Oxford have offered me an unconditional place to read law, starting October 2011. I am thrilled to bits!

Tomorrow I'm getting a Greyhound bus to Denver, then a flight to Los Angeles, then a 12 hr wait (can't wait - not!), then another flight to Bogota, Comombia, then yet another flight to Santiago, Chile... A bit of a mission!!

Ok, I think that's everything... Thanks for reading - stay tuned for more!

Posted by AlTiffany2 15:16 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Arrival in Laramie

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View Round the World Gap Year 2010-11 on AlTiffany2's travel map.

Hi everyone.
After a long couple of days of travelling I have finally made it to Tom and Jan (my great aunt and uncle)'s house in Laramie, WY. We stayed at their son Matt's place in the 'Mile High' city of Denver, CO the night I arrived in the US. Yesterday (after exploring an extraordinary and truly massive warehouse-store selling literally everything, called Costco) we set off driving north towards Wyoming.
The views of the Rockies along the way were pretty impressive and the change of altitude was definitely noticeable - going from the Mile High city of Denver up to Laramie which sits at over 7000ft.
Some of the mountains which can be seen from Laramie are almost Alpine height - Medicine Bow peak is just over 12000ft high, however, as the surrounding area is also pretty high up, they don't look quite as towering. The altitude is a big factor here (as well as the cold, of course) and just walking into town I could definitely feel myself getting short of breath. As this is in the middle of the vast prairie (almost desert-like), the air is very dry and I have been getting thirsty fairly quickly.
The temperature is pretty mild here for the time of year (just over freezing now), though due to the mountain climate this can change very quickly. It is not uncommon for night time temperatures to fall to -30 degrees Celsius, or even colder (thankfully, not recently) and for up to a couple of feet of snow to fall in one go. Just goes to show how badly we deal with even a small amount of bad winter weather in the UK!
Weather permitting, I hope to borrow Tom's snow shoes and maybe his skis and go for an explore up in the Snowy Range, the mountains above Laramie.
Going to head outside and do a bit more exploring now. Keep following for updates!

Posted by AlTiffany2 11:43 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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