Skip to content Skip to navigation

The Hot Squat

by Our Man in Wyoming
Mon Nov 14th, 2016

Hot springs bathhouse in Thermopolis

Within Wyoming, the Shoshone Indian Reservation occupies more square miles than Delaware, and nearly as many as Connecticut. The settlement the Shoshones received was in some ways not as onerous as with other tribes. The best farmlands in the state lie within the Reservation, wrapped around the relatively verdant town of Pavilion. Those lands are watered from the dramatic, yawning, roaring chasm of the Wind River, which drains off all of the badlands of the Bighorn Basin, funneling and gushing through as one craggy, narrow vent. 

Sugar beets are the primary crop, and the time of the harvest is right now, this week. The highways are swarming with dusty old trucks heaped to overflowing with Beta Vulgaris, suggestive of the local brown-bodied bees at this time of year, relentlessly gathering from the few remaining yellow dandelions while time remains. 

One truck slogans: "For the very best Sweet, you can't beat Beet"

The Shoshones also received an everlasting easement surrounding access to the hot springs in the town of Thermopolis, reportedly the world's most extensive. A delightful consequence is that the sulphur-scented waters are open to all, and free of charge. I enjoy the vibration of the little neighborhood in and around the State-operated bath house, for me an energy unique in Wyoming. Grassy lawns and shade trees are rare in these parts.

Exterior of bath house

Hot Springs State Park

Mineral deposits shaped like gigantic gumdrops self-form from runoff from a faucet on top.

Thermopolis is a one-industry town.