The Northeast Wyoming Visitor Center is not-too-far across the state line. South Dakota’s Black Hills are still in your memory if not in your rear view mirror as you approach and take Exit 99 on I-90 to see it. This visitor center is near the first town, if you can call it that, in Wyoming. Beulah’s population, according to locals, who would know, is 33, not 73 as reported a few years ago. Let’s just say that this village is big enough to have a post office but not much else except for this nearby, excellent visitor center, which is not very far from the Vore Buffalo Jump that I wrote about on August 6.
This clay and shale part of Wyoming near Sun Dance Mountain is called Red Valley, Redwater Valley, Red Beds, or Red Racetrack. Its first Caucasian residents were gold prospectors followed by oil field workers. The less-than-bonanza-like Rocky Ford Oilfield was here.
The Northeast Wyoming Visitor Center looks new, so I asked Amanda how long it had been here. “It’s our 8th summer,” she replied, which caused me to respond, “so you’re closed in the winter.” I had just read a sign about how to save yourself if caught in a local snowstorm. “No, we’re year-round,” she responded.
What makes the Northeast Wyoming Visitor Center so special are its displays and its spirit. From one animal display I learned that mule deer got this name because of their large ears that move both constantly and independently. One display raved about Wyoming’s uncrowded roads that only become a problem if you have bad weather or a breakdown. Visitors are often challenged in this part of Wyoming to cowboy up–in other words, be prepared for anything. There’s isn’t a part of this low-population state that I didn’t learn something about while exploring this inviting visitor center.
Writer Wallace Stegner once described something by saying, “It’s the reverse of monotonous.” It might have been South Dakota’s Badlands because that’s where I read it. This sentence would describe the Northeast Wyoming Visitor Center too, where I lingered until Ruth & I had to move on to the Vore Buffalo Jump for a tour.