Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our mini vacation to Thermopolis

Jeff surprised me last weekend with a fun trip to Thermopolis Wyoming. We had such a great time and there are so many fun things to do. Thermopolis is home to the WORLD`S LARGEST MINERAL HOT SPRING. We spent time so much time swimming that we all turned into raisins but Karie loved every minute of it.

We had a rough start but it was worth every minute once we got going. The roads were closed starting Friday morning so we spent much of the morning thinking we would never get out of town. Once the roads opened we were on our way.

We stopped and saw a few sights along the way.

Hell's Half Acre is a roadside curiosity—located about 40 miles west of Casper, Wyoming on US 20/26. Encompassing over 300 acres, this geologic oddity is composed of deep ravines, caves, rock formations and hard-packed eroded earth. Hell's Half Acre was used as the location for the fictional planet of Klendathu in the movie Starship Troopers.

The location was known as "The Devil's Kitchen", "The Pits of Hades", and "The Baby Grand Canyon" until a cowhand appeared and thought he was at Hell's Half Acre, an area southwest of Casper full of alkali and bogs.

Native American tribes used the ravines to drive thousands of buffalo to their deaths during their hunts.

Next came Wind River Canyon. It was so beautiful to drive through and the weather couldn't have been any better.
It is a scenic Wyoming canyon carved out by the Wind River. It is located between the cities of Shoshoni and Thermopolis and is a popular stop for visitors to Yellowstone National Park.

Traveling through the canyon, at times you are level with the canyon floor. The scenic route offers views of the canyon and landmark natural structures like the Chimney Rock. The canyon is at times as much as 2,500 feet deep.

The southern mouth of the canyon is near the Boysen Dam in Boysen State Park several miles north of, and about half a mile east of, the state park's borders with the Wind River Indian Reservation. The canyon includes a number of homes along the highway and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line. The north end of the canyon is at the Wedding of the Waters, where the Wind becomes the Big Horn River.

We finally made it to Thermopolis and checked into our home for the weekend. We rented a little cabin for the weekend from the Roundtop Motel and I highly recommend it. They were so friendly and the cabin was perfect for the weekend.

We quickly unloaded the car and put on our swimming suits and enjoyed some much needed time in the hot springs. Jeff even went down the slide. After swimming we ate dinner and returned to the cabin for some sleep. We knew we had a big day ahead of us.

Saturday morning we decided to drive around in Hot Springs State Park to see what we could see. There are herds of bison that live in the park and we wanted to find them. It took a few minutes of driving but soon we rounded the corner and found them. They were lazily grazing on the grass and while they were aware that we were there it didn't seem to bother them much. We continued through the park and stopped to look at some of the beautiful natural springs stopping to take pictures along the way. Some of the rock formations are just amazing. We hiked down to the river and then drove back to "Swinging Bridge"

After the bridge we went over to the center of the park and found some amazing places to take pictures. Karlie was getting pretty antsy by now and was ready to go see some dinosaurs but that didn't stop us from taking some great photos first.

We headed to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center but Karlie was more interested in the gift shop than she was the dinosaurs. They have amazing exhibits and so many cool things to see. We finally roped Karlie away from the stuffed dinosaur (that we ended up buying and she has now properly named "Thermopolis") and made our way through the center. I couldn't believe how many cool skeletons they had on display. They had it set up so that you could see the room where the paleontologists worked, they had the scenes set up so that you could see what the dinosaurs might have actually been doing. All in all it was a really cool place to go and I recommend it to anyone that is up that way. It was hard to pick just one picture to post because there were so many cool things to see.

After the Dinosaur Center we took Karlie swimming as promised. She had so much fun in the water and was even brave enough to go down the little slide they had outside. It was such a beautiful day that it was hard to pull ourselves away from the warm sun and warm water.

Next came Legend Rock State Historic Site. One word.....AMAZING!!! It was so cool to see petroglyph's from hundreds of years ago! Some of the drawings had been defaced and it is hard to believe that people can be so thoughtless as to destroy an amazing artifact. Karlie even thought it was neat to see the pictures and sh could even tell what most of them were. Jeff and I could have stayed there forever but unfortunately our 3 yr old had different ideas. It is just amazing what has survived years of different elements and is still around for us to see. The pictures do it no justice it was so amazing to see in real life and we are looking forward to going back again soon.

Our day had come to an end but not before we had one of the best meals in a long time, thank you Pumpernicks. After dinner it was off to one last night of swimming. Karlie LOVED every minute of it and hated having to get out of the pool at closing.

On our last day in Thermopolis we had to visit the park that one of the town people had recommended. It was the BEST park ever! It was a great place for Karlie to play and have fun before we headed back home. I only wish we had found it earlier. Karlie had so much fun with all the passages and tunnels. There were twist and turns around every corner! I have to admit even Jeff and I had a great time. I think Karlie's favorite part was the swings. What kids doesn't love swings.

Well that is our trip in a nutshell. Between Jeff and I we took over 400 pictures! If you ever get the chance to go to Thermopolis DO IT!!!! You won't be sorry!

Thanks Jeff for a fun surprise weekend!