Famous American Author Mark Twain Came To Wyoming And Gave It 3/5 Stars
Writing travel reviews is nothing new, yet it seems like it's something that comes from the modern era.
I myself take a look at reviews of hotels, tourist destinations, and Airbnb before I travel. And I admit that I often skip places that have anything less than an average 4-star review.
This means I likely may have skipped Wyoming if I listened to what Mark Twain had to say about it.
Mark Twain (whose real name is Samual Clemens) came to Wyoming at the age of 26 when he traveled alongside his brother to the Nevada Territory. He ended up trying his hand at mining in Virginia City, but soon lost interest and instead began to work at the local newspaper.
In 1865 Twain began to gain popularity as a writer of short stories and in 1872 he published a book titled "Roughing It" where he shared the tale of his experiences out West. His book was a bit like our modern-day travel reviews, and he shared his thoughts about a vast portion of America.
In this book, he mentions Wyoming several times. In the time of stagecoach travel, it was often necessary to pass through our vast state, and while at times Twain marveled at the beauty of Wyoming, according to several accounts he was happy to quickly roll on through.
"And now, at last, we were fairly in the renowned SOUTH PASS.... We were in such an airy elevation above the creeping populations of the earth, that now and then when the obstructing crags stood out of the way it seemed that we could look around and abroad and contemplate the whole great globe."
It made me laugh when I read his words AT LAST. Because I think all of us have had that thought when traveling across our state. He does seem to have an appreciation for the wide-open spaces!
He was so unimpressed with Laramie Peak that he likened it to a grouchy old man.
Laramie Peak at our elbow looming vast and solitary -- a deep, dark, rich indigo blue in hue, so portentously did the old colossus frown under his beetling brows of storm-cloud.
In a letter to Buffalo Bill (the one famous for putting Cody, Wyoming on the map) 20 some years after his trip out West, Twain seems to recall his time more fondly.
I have now seen your Wild West show two days in succession, enjoyed it thoroughly. It brought back to me the breezy, wild life of the Rocky mountains, and stirred me like a war song. The show is genuine, cowboys, vaqueros, Indians, stage-coach, costumes, the same as I saw them in the frontier years ago.
I have a feeling that if we turned what Twain had to say about Wyoming in his book into a Travelocity review he'd give our state 3/5 stars. And his comments would read something like "The stagecoach was crowded with mail bags and there was little room to move. The time to travel was too long, and while the views when we were able to see them were wonderous...the cloud cover prevented us from seeing all that we desired."