January 16, 2017

By Casey Adams
Print these Wind River Country bingo cards out before you hit the road (or at one of our libraries), to keep the kids entertained on the road! You can also play online.

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We’ve included short descriptions of each item for your entertainment and education, too!

1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous Site
In the 1830s, mountain men worked their way out of the mountains to meet up with traders from Back East and their Native American neighbors to sell their hard-fought beaver pelts, stock up on essential supplies, and celebrate surviving another harsh and lonely year in the Wind River Mountains. Today, this annual gathering—Riverton’s 1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous—is reenacted each year in July on the very site where it first occurred. Not only can you walk where Kit Carson and the like did, but you can also learn some of the skills. Hatchet throwing, anyone?

Photo: Scott Copeland
Photo: Scott Copeland

Bighorn Sheep
Just outside Dubois stands Whiskey Mountain, home to the largest wintering Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep herd in North America.  Bring your binoculars and make time to visit this unique wildlife habitat area.  Visit the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center in downtown Dubois or schedule a guided tour.

Bronze Longhorn Steer or Prairie Dog
Lander is known as the City of Bronze, and Main Street features a number of impressive bronzes to earn that name. Lander Lil is the name of the prairie dog, if you spot her!

Chief Washakie Trail Sign
The Chief Washakie Trail parallels the eastern side of the Wind River Mountains and was a trade route used by the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. U.S. Hwy. 26/287 extends from Fort Washakie to Rawlins, Wyoming, and is a beautiful route to drive. Keep an eye out for the brown highway signs marking the route. 

This isn’t Disneyland! You’ll see real cowboys while you’re here!

Matthew Spaulding photo
Photo: Matthew Spaulding

You’ll also see real cowgirls while you’re in Wind River Country, just as you always would! 

Eat a Local Burger
The flavor of Wyoming’s Wind River Country is increasingly locally grown and raised foods—and though we do beef really well, it’s not all steaks and burgers. From the mushroom and raspberry farms in Shoshoni to the meat processors of Dubois and Hudson, from the pumpkin patch outside Riverton to the small farms and homemade sauerkraut of Lander, from the mini-dairies to the goat dairies, Wind River Country has extensive and forward-thinking flavor. You can check off any local food, as long as you enjoy it!

Fleck or Nugget of Gold
The promise of gold drew thousands of miners to South Pass City in the late 1860s. Though that boom didn’t last long, what is now Historic South Pass City has gone through a number of mineral booms and busts over the years. Today, you can visit and try your hand at gold panning—many go home with a fleck of gold in their hands. 

Giant Jackalope
The Exxon Country Store in Dubois is home to two giant jackalopes decked out with saddles and set up just for photographic moments. Get your laughs with the camera, then move on to ice cream before hitting the road again.

Herd of Antelope
Antelope outnumber humans out here—keep an eye out for those speedy Pronghorns (the correct name for our antelope!)

We thought we’d give you an easy one. They are part of the Western way of life on ranches and at rodeos. 

Hot-air Balloon
Riverton hosts a balloon rally each year, and there’s nothing more remarkable than the view of a colorful balloon against the backdrop of the Wind River Mountains—except maybe Wind River Country from the basket of a balloon! 

Photo: Bill Sincavage
Photo: Bill Sincavage

Indian Paintbrush Flower
The Indian Paintbrush is Wyoming’s state flower. It’s a beautiful, red blossom that sets the hillsides afire in the late spring! 

Mountain Biker
The mountain biking scene grows in each corner of Wind River Country with every season. You’ll see a bike on a vehicle if you don’t see one on a trail! 

Native American Beadwork or Dancing
Encompassing more than 2.2 million acres, the Wind River Indian Reservation is home to the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho tribes. They hold dancing events twice a week in the summer, plus the annual powwows, and you can find beadwork in shops across Wind River Country.

Oregon Trail
Historic trails crisscross Wind River Country, taking advantage of the easy access South Pass provides over the north-south barrier formed by the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide. Native Americans used this corridor for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, but it wasn’t until a party of fur trappers outfitted by John Jacob Astor and known as the Astorians “discovered” South Pass in 1812 that its importance to America’s western settlement became apparent.

Red Canyon
Twenty-four miles south of Lander, the Red Canyon opens up just off of Highway 28. The interpretive pullout looks miles down the red-rock canyon into the green valley toward Lander and beyond, to the blue Wind River Mountains.

Red Canyon. Photo: Scott Copeland
Photo: Scott Copeland

Rock Climber
Lander is home to world-class rock climbing. Just ask the professional athletes who call this place home or attend the International Climbers’ Festival that brings the big brands to town each year! Give it a try yourself in Sinks Canyon State Park, or indoors at Elemental Gym or Crux Coffee. 

Any given weekend in Wind River Country—most of the summer—will include a rodeo. Watch the local kids participate in many of them! 

Photo by Josh Milek
Photo by Josh Milek

The Milky Way
Light pollution isn’t a problem here. Spend an evening under the stars and give your kids the chance to gaze upon the unbelievable Milky Way.

The Wind River
It’s only appropriate you spot the river for which we are named! Look for the Big Wind River and the Little Wind River. Both count! 

Total Solar Eclipse
A total solar eclipse will glide across the Lower 48 this summer, and Wyoming is one of the few states that will experience totality (where the moon blocks the sun for a few minutes!) If you’re here on August 21, you can check this one off! Learn more at windrivereclipse.org.  

Use #WindRiverCountry
Share a photo on Instagram and make sure we see it! @windrivercountry #windrivercountry. Bonus square if you also use #roomtobreathe.

Wind River Country Sticker
Pick up a commemorative Wind River Country sticker at local chambers of commerce and at state park offices.

Posted in Notes From the Field