Trail’s End: Farewell, good luck and keep the wind at your back

 

By IKE FREDREGILL

Wandering the high plains of the Laramie Valley and writing about my adventures in the Snowy Mountains and Laramie Range has been a dream come true.
Alas, all good things come to end.
During my time with the Laramie Area Visitors Center, I’ve been able to explore a fraction of what Albany County has to offer, but as the winds change, so too does my direction.
My travels take me east, to the land of green and mole hills dubbed mountains. The air will be ample, the wind will be mild and the winters, short. I will miss it all.
The civilized world east of the Mississippi River never held much allure for me.
I prefer my towns quaint with horse hitches outside town hall, and my open road, well, open.
When the nearest gas station is 50 miles away with nothing in between, even driving provides a sense of exhilaration.
As for Albany County, I’ve been spoiled living within minutes of two mountain ranges and vast opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
In Laramie, we have a thriving food culture, one I hoped to write about more. But, that adventure is not one you needed guided through. Simply follow your nose.
We have the University of Wyoming, the shining beacon of culture and arts in our great state. At the university, we have students, as some colleges are wont to do, and those students bring a hunger for events, ensuring our town is never dull as well as a thirst, ensuring our saloons are never dry.
Our golden seas provide soft waves of wheat dotted by majestic wild horses and the occasional bison. They don’t pull you under, and you never have to worry about sharks.
Albany County has it all, and I will always have my memories of it to keep me cool and dry during the blistering, humid east coast summers.
My favorite adventure by far was touring Laramie’s breweries with my side kick and Laramie Area Visitor Center Assistant Director Mike Gray — I never could get him into spandex and a cape, though.
From Altitude Chophouse & Brewery’s Stay Woke coffee porter to Coal Creek Tap’s Coal Train, also a coffee porter I think, Mike and I sipped our way through Albany County’s vibrant after-dark culture.
Together we terrorized the fish across a dozen plains’ lakes, or at the very least, entertained them with our ineptitude for catching them. As it stands, Mike and I are currently tied — we’ve gone on two fishing trips and both of us have come out with nothing at least once.
We skied cross country along the Laramie Range, and he stayed home complaining about his knee while I tumbled down the Snowy Range slopes — come to think of it, he may be the winner of that one, too.
After failing to climb Medicine Bow Peak, the highest mountain in Albany County, Mike showed me a short cut, using snowmobiles.
We’ve created enough stories to fill a book, and yet, Albany County has so many more to offer.
I’m on my way out, but I hope you’re reading this on your way in. All trails end in Laramie, but I’m heading to see where they begin.