The night before we left Casper for Thermopolis, Terry took this picture of the North Platte River, acquiring too many mosquito bites in the process.
Thermopolis, Wyoming has the largest mineral hot spring in the world, and I convinced Terry that we needed to go out of our way to come here.
In case anyone was wondering, this kind of travel does have its ups and downs. When you travel so long you can’t leave things like bill paying and laundry and food shopping behind. And sometimes the campground where you end up leaves something to be desired.
When we pulled into our reserved site in the RV Park in Thermopolis, I remembered all the reasons why the Sheraton might be preferable. Our site is so tiny that we could barely fit the car, and as we unhitched, the two dogs in the next trailer didn’t stop barking. As I anxiously awaited the arrival of the grandchildren, I had a heavy heart, while Terry played Pollyanna.
What made it particularly hard was that we’d just come through the Wind River Canyon for which no superlative will suffice. Dry camping (no hookups) was possible there, and I was wishing I’d known about that when I made our reservations in Thermopolis. The reality, though, is that this gorgeous spot would not have worked out for our family this particular time.
When daughter and family joined us they said it wasn’t so bad. The next day the barking dogs pulled out and Terry and I visited the free Bath House in Hot Springs State Park.
And it was fine.
The mineral pools have no chlorine added. While some prefer the natural pools deep in the woods – and we may still find some on this trip — there is something to be said for a free pool that’s easy to get to, with showers and changing rooms. They are free because when the Native Americans “sold” the land to the government, there was a stipulation in the treaty that said the waters must be available to the public for free.
Soaking in a hot tub is one of Terry’s favorite things. The grandkids and Sara and Jeff were also interested in the commercial water park — with slides and baby pools — When Sara went down the 250 foot slide, Terry said he hadn’t seen a look like that on her face since she was 4 years old. I wish I had a picture of that.
Our third night here it cooled down so much that I actually had to wear a fleece. Sara made us a picnic supper and we walked along the boardwalk near the Bath House and saw the terraces and the mineral deposits as well as the swinging bridge that as near as I can tell was at one time the only way to get to the mineral waters.
“There are several large hot springs near the Wind River Canyon in Hot Springs county that all flow into the Big Horn River. The water originates from an underground flow from the Owl Creek Mountains.”
“The Thermopolis Hot Springs are one of the largest worldwide and the water flow is over 18,000 gallons/day. The temperature of the hot springs is about 135 degrees (F), but the pools that visitors swim in are regulated to between 102-104 degrees (F) for safety and comfort. To the west one can see the terraces formed over thousands of years by mineral deposits. The mineral deposits are primarily composed of lime and gypsum layers known as travertine. The color of the travertine is influenced by the many species of algae that can be seen thriving in the warm waters here at the park.”
Tomorrow our plan is for us and the grandkids to get to Gros Ventre Campground in the Tetons. We’re supposed to be able to see moose there — the animal that has consistently evaded us throughout our travels. There is a classical music festival in Jackson for which we already have tickets, as well as free movies having to do with space. The eclipse is advertised everywhere now because we are in its path. Thermopolis is having a free pancake breakfast the morning of the eclipse. A camper just told me that Idaho is gearing up for the thousands of people who will be flocking there. We will be getting provisions for us and the six other members of our family who will be joining us the week before the eclipse.
I’m anxious and excited at the same time.
Internet will be spotty from here on in because we need to drive to the Jackson Library to go online.
I’ll blog whenever I can.