What is on your “Cowboy State Bucket List?”
By definition, the term “bucket list” stands for those places you want to visit or those things you want to do before you die.
For some time now, I have annually been publishing my own version of this list and have gradually been checking a few off my list.
In a land of 97,000 square miles full of mountains, canyons, rivers, historical trails and outposts, Native American sites and modern marvels, it is easy to compile such a list.
And yet, there are so many more places to see it seems like my list is getting longer rather than shorter.
For example a dinosaur dig or a buffalo jump have zoomed to near the top of my list. Our family had never been to either and Wyoming has some of the best in the country. The dinosaur dig near Thermopolis is one of the most prominent dino digs in the country. The Vore buffalo jump near Sundance is amazing. I also want to get out in the Red Desert and see the one on the summit of Steamboat Mountain between Rock Springs and Farson.
Among the things that I wanted to do, and did do, included finally seeing Sybille Canyon between Laramie and Wheatland and driving the back road over the Snowy Range Mountains between Saratoga and Laramie.
Also, I finally took that Red Desert back road from Rock Springs to South Pass and visited Boars Tusk and the Killpecker Sand Dunes. On my earlier list was a visit to Bill, Wyoming, which I managed to do one Sunday afternoon while listening to a Broncos football game on the radio.
Also finally I drove that fantastic Wild Horse Loop from Green River to north of Rock Springs above White Mountain. We also re-visited the fantastic petroglyphs just south of Dubois. Amazing.
But I still have not made it to some very important events. So here goes my Cowboy State Bucket List for today:
• Am hoping to take a closer look at the Vedauwoo area outside of Laramie. I have driven by it hundreds of times. It is time for a closer look. Also, to spend some time at Curt Gowdy State Park.
• Between Jeffrey City and Muddy Gap is an odd rock formation I call Stonehenge. Locals call it Castle Rock. Reportedly it has names written in it including John Sublette. Sometime this summer I hope to have it finally checked off.
• I want to spend more time in extreme western Wyoming from Afton to Evanston. Lots to see there.
• Our family lived on Squaw Creek for 23 years outside of Lander and our view looked out at the imposing Red Butte. Hope to climb it this summer.
• If Fossil Butte is not on this list, my friend Vince Tomassi will scold me about it. He serves incredible meals every Thursday night in Kemmerer-Diamondville at Luigi’s. Perhaps a tour and dinner, Vince?
• In 1993, I spent a very nervous time hunting a bighorn ram in the Double Cabin Area northeast of Dubois. Would love to go back for a more relaxed trip this time around. There were petrified forests above timberline and a place that included a meadow full of vertical rocks standing on end.
• I still need to take the time to tour all the new parts of UW with a knowledgeable guide and see firsthand all the new buildings and new programs.
• Some 48 years ago, I photographed what looked like a horrible scar on Togwotee Pass where the area was clear-cut. Would like to go back to those areas and see if the timber has recovered or not.
• Historian Phil Roberts says he will give me a tour of the “breaks” north of Lusk. I flew over that area by private plane many times and looked down in awe at this rough country.
• A tour of Wyoming’s giant coal mines makes sense.
• On the Wind River Reservation, I finally visited the Arapaho Ranch and also visited the mountains at the extreme north end of the rez. Saw the Legend Rock petroglyph site in that neighborhood — fantastic.
To wrap this up, my friend Tom Hayes does not like the term “bucket list” and calls his a “leap list” for a list he does every leap year to plan their visits over the next four years.
Jim Hicks always offers perspective on these kinds of lists when he says he always wanted to break par, then he always wanted to break 80. “Now I just want to be able to get out there and play,” he concludes.
So that’s my Cowboy State bucket list. What’s yours?
Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books. His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find more stories by Bill Sniffin by going to CowboyStateDaily.com.