Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 70 - Frontier prison

Don't ever ever commit a crime in the early 1900s in Wyoming. We took a tour of the Wyoming Frontier Prison, known to the locals as the 'Old Pen'. The tour was led by an overly gleeful 16-year old who knew way too much about old timey criminal and capital punishment. The tour began promptly at 12:30pm with a demonstration of the Julian gallows, which is a way to hang a man where no one is responsible for pulling a trap door. The prisoner's weight on the trap door sets in action a Rube Goldberg-like series of events which result in his own hanging. The tour culminated with a visit to the gas chamber, where the way too perky teen described the process in detail. TMI.

The tour, while a real slice of tourist WY, really bummed me out. So, can't recommend it fully, but it is a major attraction in Rawlins. The other major attraction is a Thai restaurant called 'Anong'. It has done so well in Rawlins that it actually has spread to the larger WY cities. Delicious. My first Thai food in months.

We hit the trail in the afternoon, leaving the city limits by crossing under the railroad tracks through a pitch black pedestrian tunnel. The road out of town was a dirt road with a distinctive red tint. Rawlins was known for mining hematite, which is an ingredient in red paint. I heard the Brooklyn Bridge was painted with Rawlins red paint.

Due to the fact that we are in late August, much of the water is dry. The water which does exist is often too saline or alkaline to drink. Anecdote #1: Northbounders who did drink the water after treating it, did have GI distress within 24h. Anecdote #2: A Rawlins man in his 50s was just diagnosed with parasites from drinking this water, when he was lost in the desert in his 20s. Needless to say, we are not going to drink any of the questionable water, which stretches for 30mi South. The BLM does list the Tetons Reservoir as a water source. It is off trail, so we'll hit it early tomorrow morning.

Many thanks again to trail angels Amanda and Wayne. If you're reading this, appreciate the above and beyond hospitality. Also, you're both so talented--the cards, notebooks and the purse made of boots. Please, please open an Etsy storefront.

Mileage: 15mi from Rawlins to somewhere near Tetons reservoir

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry about the water! What a bummer! (Agreed that you shouldn't drink questionable water!!) I am so glad that you were able to get it from people passing by! (And we do have an etsy :) it's just been closed for awhile due to wedding planning.) I hope Encampment treats you better!