I’m getting a first hand look at the fisherman’s obsession. This week I’ve had the pleasure of going to Trapper’s Route, Black Beach, and Alcova Lake, in the Casper, Wyoming, region. I found this website for Casper angling. I’ve also been reading a book by Chad Hanson called Swimming with Trout which has helped my husband share fishing with me.
Friday night I asked my husband if he wanted to go fishing on Trapper’s Route Saturday. His eyes widened, “sure. Yes.” I told him I wanted to get some pictures and things because people might not know about this area and would want to try it out with their families too.
Figures that enough people are coming out to the area to warrant fences. It was the first sign new developments were afoot. In early Spring the Game and Fish Department renovated Trapper’s Route with signage, restroom facilities, tables and fire rings. This is great for the fisherman with families!
Although Husband has fished in several of these spots as a fly fisherman we went beyond Buffaloberry and took a path made by tire tracks. From where we were on the road you can’t see the North Platte River for at least another 10 minutes.
From the limited shoreline we set up chairs and wormed up. Is that the right phrase?
Husband went into the river in waders for some fly fishing. Most of the time the kids and I were catching seaweed but we munch some lunch.
15 minutes later, catch two.
Another 10 or so minutes, catch three. Husband said it was the best fishing trip he’s ever had – fastest he’s ever caught in such a short time. Of course, I reminded him that Baby & I were his good luck charms.
At one point I wanted to fish further down in this spot but it wasn’t safe to have both kids there as it drops into a deep hole. Lots of fish.
So many fish I saw 2 dance right out of the water, laughing at me….
Husband laughed at me, “yep. They do that.” But he’d already confirmed to himself that there was a drop off hole full of fish. He watched the kids while I tried my hand unsuccessfully. Husband took pity and helped us cast and wait for our fish to come on line. Big Boy reeled in his first trout and I got to reel in and release a itty bitty one.
Husband says his legacy is to catch and release
so that he doesn’t catch all of the fish leaving none for others.
Wednesday the kids and I took our first trip to a farm. It’s been a busy couple of days so this posting and a few others are delayed! We drive past lots of properties that are ranching or small farming on our way to other destinations but today our journey was to one of them!
Only one block away from home Big Boy was chanting, “Farm, farm, here we come!”
Even in the wilds of Wyoming where farms are side by side, it can be difficult to find a farm that can sustain more than itself at times let alone have enough to sell. Big farm productions outstrip the small farmer every day, many times costs that are out of the small farmers control – feed, livestock loss, market prices – simply make it impossible to break even. I advocate visiting your local farmer because they are the backbone of our country – buy American!!!
My local farmer for this challenge is “Doris” whose Dad was relocating the family from Nebraska to Idaho in ‘44. He made a stop in Wyoming and the family stayed. She is widowed, has 6 children and about 25 grandchildren. Living in a mobile home about a mile from the farm, her sister still lives in the family home while their brother and his son live in trailers on the driveway leading into the property. The farm is set back by the railroad tracks in town and there are a few outbuildings.
These are questions to which I needed answers for my Egg-Cellence Challenge and Essay Contest submission. My first question when I met Doris was to ask for a tour and I was happy to hear her say, “of course”, and away we went. She told me a little about herself, the farm, and about the other animals as I drove. I was carrying Baby so I wasn’t able to take photos or write notes, so I’ll have to call/visit her again to get the information again.
1) Are your chickens raised on pasture? If so, how long are they exposed to the sun?*
No, the chicken coop is divided into three sections: a “laying area” (my husband said these are called “roosts”) with perches and boxes filled with soft shavings and straw, a roof covered shaded area out of the elements with straw bales and boxes (they don’t lay eggs in those boxes, just sit in them), and a 5-sided chicken wired pen area which gets plenty of sun. There is a chicken door from one covered room to the next and a person door that is kept open dawn to dusk each day.
2) How often are the chickens rotated to a different field?
3) What is the ratio of chickens to pasture?
N/A regarding pasture. Doris has about 30 chickens currently.
4) Do you use antibiotics or growth enhancers (feed additives as such)?*
Doris chuckled when I asked her that, and said, “no, we don’t need to, they don’t get sick and their nutrients are in their feed. When they get too old to lay, we eat them.” ‘Nuf said.
5) Do you know what ingredients are in your chicken feed? If so, what?*
Doris was well versed in the type of feed, but I’ll have to ask her about it again.
6) Do you feed your chickens marigolds?*
No, and literally there were no flowers on the property.
7) How much feed are your hens given?*
Not asked specifically
8 ) Do your chickens keep their beaks?*
They were BEAUTIFUL birds. Dark, dark red in color, with shiny coats. They had their feathers, beaks, and feet.
9) Can I see your animals or have a farm tour?*
This was my favorite! Doris also has cows, goats, mini chickens, pigs (slaughter, wiener**, and 4H) and even peacocks! **My husband once again corrected me, it’s not wiener, its weaner (as in “weaned off”). lol – lots to learn!
I was lucky enough to go to The Herbal Remedies Store, Inc., store which also carries local farm fresh eggs brought in weekly from Whitney Farms. The Whitney’s have about 100 chickens and are acquiring another 100 or so due to demand. Their supply is also found at Alpenglow of Wyoming Natural Foods and Grant Street Grocery & Market (neither of which have an online presence yet). Oddly, the owner at Herbal Remedies was a bit surprised at how fast the eggs were snatched up – 6 doz by one woman ad shortly thereafter by another buying 5 doz, both were put on the “call” list when eggs arrive. I laughed and told her that when I make food from scratch, plus use eggs for egg salad or just breakfast eggs, a dozen eggs can be gone in 2 days OR LESS. For the Whitney’s $3.49/doz. (their cost + the store markup) after my purchase of $1.50/doz. my husband said that the fresh eggs wouldn’t be cost effective for us, I’d have to let it go and go to my grocery store for the 18-count $2.00 eggs.
*Friday, Feb 10th – I thought I’d add that there are 2 eggs left of 1 doz. eggs from Doris. That is light use 3 days!*
Find out more below! Want to participate?
Help fight poverty in Natrona County, Wyoming, Interfaith of Natrona County will be attempting to set the record for the World’s Largest Potluck, as a “Fun” fundraiser to increase assistance to our clients. We need 808 entries to beat the record and must be one dish per person. It can be an appetizer, salad, side dish, casserole, entrée, dessert or beverage.
On its Facebook Page Rev. Dee Lundberg said, “We are asking folks to limit their dishes to like one of those 8×8- ish aluminum pans with the cardboard cover, so that you don’t have to retrieve a dish later and we can work within the amount of table space we have. Safeway, Albertsons, etc deli items are permissible and maybe even desirable (keeps them sealed and safe).” For further consideration on food safety.
Join us at the Parkway Plaza, Sunday, February 26th from 1-5 PM. Cory & the Crew and Anastasias Fault will perform.
THE MOST IMPORTANT GUINNESS RULE IS:
We need ALL of the participants to be there all at once for a full 30 minutes.
Please plan to be there from at least 2:00-3:00. . . .You can come before and leave after. . .or. . . come then and stay around for fun, music and every kind of food you could imagine. Only those people (and dishes) who are there in a 30 min time frame (which will be sometime between 2:00 and 3:00) can be counted towards the record.
Unopened excess food, safe for redistribution, will be dispersed the day of the event, to local agencies serving those in need.
Since 1982, Interfaith has been helping those in need in Natrona County by providing emergency services such as shelter, food, clothing, prescriptions, case management, and skills for self sufficiency. Hunger and homelessness is on the rise here, as everywhere.
Any individuals of businesses who would like to help us by sponsoring, please let us know.
Everyone is welcome to come eat and enjoy the music whether or not they bring a dish, and we will rely on the generous free will donations of those who can afford it to make this event a success.
Please contact Rev Dee Lundberg if you would like to help.
Wyoming is a great place for families with young children! Although a search for free, young child friendly activities has decent search engine results, going online to find a good list of them is a challenge. It’s a mixed bag of duplicate activities or misnamed activities in listings, inaccurate/ outdated information, and there isn’t one I’ve found EVERYTHING like you do for places like Los Angeles or New York City or Boston. So this is my list of the top 5 TOTALLY FREE ACTIVITIES for the little ‘pokes. Visiting Casper, Wyoming, can provide an exciting look into the recent past and ancient past…
- Tate Geological Museum is located on the Casper College campus (drive past all the “college” buildings) on College Drive, it’s the building with an almost empty parking lot. Don’t let that fool you – open year round (check for dates/ times), most of the time you’ll have the whole place to yourself. They do appreciate donations; while some of the gift shop items are super cheap at $0.50 each. Along with the mounted Dee the Mammoth and Lee (T-)Rex in the Lab, take all the time you like in a self-guided tour (or ask for a tour by a volunteer) of regionally discovered minerals, rocks, fossils, as well as presentations on TV, and a small indoor area that you can let the kids pretend to dig up their own fossils!
- Werner Wildlife Museum is just a hop, skip, and drive down the road in the building next to the YMCA. In the warm months you’ll see lots of birds in the “backyard” as it is adjacent to a wildlife watching area. If you already visited the Tate, you’ve seen the Bald Eagle (or as my son calls them, and your kids will demand to go to the “dead birds museum” and that’s what this museum if full of – stuffed wildlife of Wyoming.
The man who started this museum was a hunter and collector who donated the building & collection to Casper College for exhibit. If you are a fisher-Dad or Mom you’ll enjoy the differences in the fish species that aren’t easy to see in the Fish & Game rulebook. My son and daughter enjoyed the touch and feel exhibit of furs and horns. I, for one, enjoyed the small birds and was surprised at how big the Raven is compared to the Crow. Open year round (check for dates/ times) I highly recommend going to both it and the Tate back to back, and in warm weather having a picnic behind the building on the grass.
- If the kids are starting to have cabin fever, drive to one of the numerous city parks in Casper. My favorites are Castle Park, off Poplar Street next to the Casper baseball field, and Washington Park, off McKinley Street. Castle Park has a great “castle” playground for big kids and little kids.
Even at 2 years of age my son was gleefully sliding down the 2 story slides. Washington Park has a fun playground too, with a seasonal pool, basketball and tennis courts. Another couple of great outdoors areas are the Yesness Park off of Wyoming Boulevard/Poplar Street with a pond and walk around for little explorers, a bit difficult for a stroller though unless you can do 4 wheeling, and Morad Dog Park off also off Wyoming Boulevard/ C Y Avenue with trails parallel to the North Platte River. Bring a picnic and your imagination!
- More adventurous parents can go day camping on Casper Mountain in Beartrap Meadow County Park just by following Casper Mountain Road where a system of campsites are locate on the front side of Casper Mountain, and further on the Muddy Mountain campground. A much quieter area for camping with amazing views of the backside of the mountain, but not accessible during the winter. Look for my favorite spot at a hairpin turn (guaranteed you’ll do 2 drive bys!) by the first campground area (by the big sign) with a small creek running through it just right for little kids. A short walk is the Lee McCune Braille Trail, an easy walking trail designed for the blind. The majority of the area is doable for wheelchairs too. Beartrap Meadow itself has a giant meadow for a big game of tag, and the surrounding campsites are suitable for day and overnight camping with running water from a spigot, nearby bathrooms, and small playgrounds. Day use is free most areas but overnight is a fee.
- Garden Creek Falls & Bridle Trails, Rotary Park is a lot harder to find unless someone points out the route. If you already went exploring on the mountain you might have caught a glimpse of the falls, this one is the only one on public land.
There are signs posted letting you know when you are on private land. Drive up Casper Mountain Road, at the fork (where the Fire Indication billboard is) take a right so you are driving down into the foot of the mountain. The small faded blue sign noting Rotary Park can be hard to recognize, but it’ll be the first left going up a dirt like road. There is day camping, hiking trails, and a great waterfall within a short walking distance. The walk to the falls is about a leisurely 10-15 minutes, not exactly wheelchair friendly but is okay for sturdier strollers. If it’s a hot day, go ahead and cool your tootsies off in the water!
If you run out of free things to do, check out my parallel posting on the Top 5 Cheap Places for Little Ones for some more ideas. Have you found any fun, free places for little kids in Casper, Wyoming, that I’ve missed?
Wyoming is a great place for families with young children! There is an extensive network of museums and historic sites. Visiting Casper, Wyoming, can provide an exciting look into the recent past and ancient past. There are tons of free things to do with them, which I touched on in the Top 5 Free Places for Little Ones in Casper, Wyoming, in my dual posts today. There are also tons of fun things to do that, thankfully, don’t cost and arm or a leg unless you have a family large enough to qualify for the “large group discount.” Quite often, having a membership allows you free or a discounted admission.
- A couple of minutes outside of Casper is Edness K. Wilkins State Park, part of the Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails. Wyoming Residents pay $4.00/ per carload and Non-residents pay $6.00/ per carload, a complete deal when you consider the hundreds of acres of land and activities that are available to you. Just outside Casper (South on I25, just before Casper by the or North of Casper, off Hwy 20-26) you might have to turn around to find it, but it’s worth it for a full day of fishing, swimming, beach sand, playground, boat dock, and ADA trails! Watch a Video, here. While restrooms & the water system is closed during the winter months, weather permitting, the State Park is open year round.
- The Science Zone is downtown off of Center Street in the basement of a furniture store. It is ADA friendly, with elevator, and has “Permanent, Rotating and Traveling Exhibits, Summer Science Camps, After-School Science Classes, Storybook Science, Outreach Programs, Special Events, Birthday Parties, and live demonstrations and films in our theatre…in a community-based facility, which offers families and children of all ages, interactive science and math learning opportunities.” They have hands on exhibits, a piano (no banging, please), bubble table, small cage animals, and a small tot indoor play area. Unless you have a ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) membership card, admission is $4.00/ adults, $3.00/ children, while Members and those under the age of 2 years are free. If you have a group of 10 persons or more, the price drops to $2.00/ ea. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Members are allowed other days, check with Staff).
- How can you have a trip to Casper without visiting our Planetarium? Open since 1966 in the same building off Poplar Street/Werner Court, showings appropriate for little kids are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday at 4:00 p.m. and the current program is Perseus and Andromeda. Admission is $2.50 per person – they do not have a under X age is free policy but I’ve found they were flexible not charging with children under 1 year of age. There is a short presentation by Staff prior to the show, you can ask questions, while the program lasts about 30 minutes. The doors to the building may not be open until shortly before 4:00 p.m. but Staff are willing to stay to answer questions. There are fun science experiments in the exhibit hall and a gift shop with prices as low as $0.25! During the summer months there several activities put on by the Astronomy society too.
This photo of National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor
4. Want to experience the Westward migration? Continue up Poplar Street and the sign proclaims the interpretative center on your right! Wyoming has a strong presence from Plains Indians (including the Shoshone, Crow, Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Utes) and pioneer life, chronicled at the Native Historic Trails Center (which is also called Casper’s National Historical Trails Interpretive Center) with a strong emphasis on the Mormon past and tragedies which occured within Wyoming. There is a theatre, a handcart where you can test your strength pulling, and different exhibits showing the tests and trials of those on the open range of Wyoming. Open year round (closed for certain holidays so check first), admission is free for those under age 15, and $4.00/ senior citizens, and under age 18, $6.00/ adults. Federal Passports – Senior Pass, Annual Pass & Access Pass – are honored with existing benefits. Best of all, all visitors are admitted free of charge on designated “Free Fee” days such as the Annual Pony Express Reride!
5. After such a day, can you handle more at a real military fort? A cool trivia fact is that the City of Casper is the official incorrect spelling of Fort Caspar (Museum) and the current site is home to a diverse history of Mormon passage, ferry crossing over the North Platte River and the sites of military forts.
All of these locations will give your family hours of outdoor fun in the warmer months and plenty to do indoors in the winter. I highly recommend going to the Science Zone to let the little ones burn off energy if you aren’t in the mood to go to the Eastridge Mall’s (free) indoor playground. If you have fun, cheap places for little ones to add to this list, please let me know!