14 June 2010

Worland, Greybull, and Shell Canyon

For the last two days it has rained quite hard. That, combined with the snowmelt from the mountains, has caused some flooding.

As we passed over the bridge entering Worland, we were amazed at the overflowing Big Horn River. So we pulled into this riverside park to take these shots.

For a close-up of the bridge in the distance, click here and scroll half way down.

On the north side of Worland is the Black Hills Bentonite Company.

What caught my attention is this sign. My guess is that BP in the Gulf of Mexico had this attitude as well at one time.

When we got to Greybull, we stopped to see if the flower-bed display was completed. It is based on the Wyoming state flag (the gray plants depict a buffalo).

On this same street, we found the town newspaper office, the Greybull Standard:

It's also a mini-museum.

Half a block down the street is the Historic Hotel Greybull and Coffee Shop.

The Coffee Shop is a converted bank.

The sitting room below used to be the vault:

The hotel is upstairs from the Coffee Shop.

The owner gave us a tour and showed us one of his signed, Grant Wood lithographs. Click here for more details on the lithograph below.

Leaving Greybull, we took Highway US-14 east toward Shell Canyon. We stopped at this historic school house.

The sign next to the building reads:

The Lower Shell Schoolhouse was one of the first non-log community buildings built in the big horn basin. Using a classic one room schoolhouse design, it was constructed on this site in 1903 on land which had been donated to the Odessa School District. The school district was named for the nearby Odessa Post Office which had operated from 1891 to 1895. Local homesteaders quarried sandstone from the surrounding hills and assisted in the construction of the 24' by 46' building. During the 1905-1906 school year forty students were enrolled here demonstrating the early settlers' high regard for education.

Although the building was mainly used as a school, it also functioned as a church for traveling preachers and as a community dance hall. A wide variety of organizations, from cemetery boards to the farm bureau, held meetings here as well. Use as a school ended in the early 1950's, but the building continued to be used as a meeting hall until the early 1970's.

In 1980 the foundation received new footings and the roof was reshingled as an effort was made to stabilize the building after nearly a decade of neglect. The addition to the rear of the building was completed in 1988, using the same architectural design as the original construction. The historical appearance was thus retained, while at the same time the building could serve as an art gallery, bookstore and information center.

The simple form of the school house epitomizes the austere life of the region's early pioneers. Shell Valley's lush irrigated farm fields contrast with the arid topography of the basin demonstrating the current results of their earlier endeavors. As one of a few remaining one room schoolhouses in Wyoming the "Old Stone School", as it was often called, has received recognition by enrollment in the National Register of Historic Places.

Traveling farther east, we found a sign for Devil's Kitchen Geological Site. Here are some of the shots we took along the way.

Unfortunately, because of all the rain, the little dirt road which leads to the geological site was muddy. Wyoming mud requires a 4 wheel drive vehicle. So we'll have to return to this site when it's dryer (sorry).

Back on US-14 we had to stop along the roadside to take these shots:

This is on the opposite side of the highway:

Just before getting to Shell Canyon is Chimney Rock:

Soon after entering Shell Canyon, there is a turn-out where you can get off the narrow highway and see Shell Creek up close (the next nine shots).

Signs like the one below are all over Wyoming, identifying the geological nature of the area.

The highway climbs up into the canyon with a number of turn-outs where you can get out of your vehicle and enjoy the Big Horn Mountains.

Finally we arrived at the Shell Falls Visitor Center which is a part of the Big Horn National Forest.

There are numerous visitor lookouts. The one above is the same as the one below.

And this is what you see from that vantage point:

The close-up below is of the plants covering the rocks above.

Because of time constraints, we had to leave Shell Falls and return home to Thermop. We stopped in the canyon on the way home to take these final shots.

This is a lupine:

This is a primrose:

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