That's WY | A weekend with Visit Wyoming
I got contacted recently to participate in a campaign highlighting winter in Casper, Wyoming. Living in Fort Collins I'm closer to Cheyenne than I am to Denver but had never really explored much of Wyoming. The only thing I really knew about Casper before this trip was that the Eclipse passed through there this last summer. I have to say, I left this trip with a completely different outlook on what central Wyoming has to offer.
When I arrived in Wyoming, I met up with the group and we all did our introductions. There were 3 other photographers along for the ride, 2 from Colorado and 1 from Chicago. It was so fun to watch them do their thing creatively and to be able to bounce ideas off of each other. Our first stop was The Nicolaysen Art Museum and I was blown away by some of the pieces in their gallery . Who would've thought Casper Wyoming would have a Picasso on display? From there we went over to Frontier Brewing and sampled some of their original beers along with a tour of their (tiny) brewing process. After getting our fill of fresh beer we headed over to FireRock Steakhouse for a hearty steak dinner. A cajun Ribeye with garlic mashed potatoes...Because that's what you do when in Wyoming, obviously.
Day 2 was filled with a ton of time on Casper Mountain. The snow was freshly falling with giant flakes and it was like being in a snow globe. The first stop was a frozen Bridle Falls. Being inside the canyon with the snow falling and fog above really made it feel like winter. I scrambled up an icy path to snag a shot of the trees quietly resting in the snow. After that we headed over to the Casper Mountain Biathlon Center. It was great to get a little more background on the sport especially with the olympics going on. Getting some target shooting in was an added bonus. After shooting, we headed up the ridge above the range to check out the overlook. Along the way, we noticed some fresh tracks in the snow and quickly realized they were from a mountain lion. I had never seen tracks that large in person before. The activity filled day lead to a walking tour of the culinary scene around Casper and where we definitely ate our weights in appetizers.
With two snowy days down, I was looking forward most to the third day of the trip. We spent the morning heading out to Independence Rock, which I found really fascinating. During the time of the Oregon Trail, immigrants would try to make it to Independence Rock before July 4th, since it would still be safe to push on over the mountain passes without fear of snow. Wish I would have known that in the 3rd grade playing Oregon Trail but it was still cool to learn at 31. It was very tough to photograph though with the overcast mixed with basically a white out,I'd be interested to see it again in the summer. After that we made our way over to the North Platte River via Fremont Canyon to link with The Reef Fly Shop to do a little fly fishing. Being out on the boat was really fun. The guides knew exactly how to read the rapids and points in the river to know where fish would be active. As the sun started to set and the temps dropped on the river, we set up on a bank to grab a few photos of the guys doing their thing.
The last and final day was a great way to finish off the trip. We had breakfast at what quickly became my favorite spot, Eggingtons. Shout out to any place that serves any form of cheesy hash-browns. Backwards Distillery was hosting us for a cocktail making class with Amber and a tour of their facilities. Amber taught us how to make two of their signature drinks called the Vailed Prophet and a Rum version of an Old Fashion. Once we finished the tour of their distillery the trip was a wrap and I headed back home with a new appreciation and outlook for Casper, not to mention a humble feeling from the hospitable people of Wyoming.
If you are traveling through Casper I recommend stopping by the Resource Center along with checking out these places: