Thursday, March 17, 2011

A New Life - The Beginning

 A few days ago we headed west towards Yellowstone Park.
The main gate for Yellowstone is 50 miles from Cody and we were told that we would not be able to travel the entire way because the road was closed due to snow.
We didn't care.  We were just eager and curious to see what the area looked like in that direction, and since we got a late start just planned on driving 25 miles or so anyway.
Cody is a small city of close to 10,000 people that lays in a wide and flat valley.
The terrain in and around the city is brown and uninspiring but it quickly changes outside of town.
About three or four miles from town we came across this place - a bridge and other views of the Shoshone River.......
LC standing at another bridge over the Shoshone.
The day was warm and sunny and windy............
Just a few more miles along the highway is Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir.
We pulled the truck over again to stop for a few minutes to look out over the choppy water.
I am still not used to such openess.  Such panoramic views.
Still not used to the lack of trees.
But I am finding it all comforting and soothing and rejuvenating right now in some way that I have not taken the time to evaluate.  
There is something cathartic about the sun and the warmth and the calm terrain and the uninterrupted company of my guy and my dog........
The dam and reservoir have a Visitors Center that is closed right now.
So we did not stay long.
I was fascinated by the increasing size and scope of the rock formations.
And loved the very large reservoir.
As always drawn to water..........
Some machinery and historical items related to the building of the dam that were located in the parking lot close to the dam...........
As we continued along the very quiet and very open highway the terrain began to change.
In only 10 miles we had traveled from my proverbial moonscape to high rock formations to increasing mountains off in the distance with grasslands on both sides of the road.
We stopped for a few minutes so I could photograph the geese and horses.
With few trees the wind was very strong, but it was not cold.
I knew so little about Wyoming before I arrived that I assumed it was a state still mired in deep winter even in March.
I was surprised to find that that was not the case.
Since we arrived (still less than a week ago) we have found only sunshine, warm temperatures and strong winds........
There are no cows in Juneau.
And the only horses I ever saw there were on a farm located between Auke Bay and the Valley.
I always felt badly for the horses I would drive by on the way to work because they were always standing in a muddy pasture.
There was no grass in the pasture at all and they were all manger hay fed even during the growing season because the ground was such a mess.
I had to take a picture of this little guy standing close to his mother trying to protect himself from the wind.  The ground was grassy and there was room to run.
This picture was taken a few days ago but we drove all the way to the CLOSED sign a few miles before the park entrance today and on the way out I saw that one more new foal was out in the pasture as well.
One more baby.  One more sign of new life.
Spring must be just around the corner..........

This new baby made me smile.  
On the way to Wyoming we passed by many farms in many states where cows were out in the fields, and there are many new babies now in the mix.
On the way to Wyoming, still reeling from my experiences in Juneau, these new baby cows and my dog in the front seat brought calmness.
I liked it.  I needed it.  I am glad that they were all there...........
There are many bronze statues in and around Cody - of bear and elk mostly.
This particular statue was photographed in the middle of nowhere.
In farm country close to the geese and close to the horses.........
I have no idea what this is or why it is here.
Standing on top of a grassland hill close to fields and homes..........
As we continued driving the terrain continued to drastically change.
Hills were gradually becoming mountains.
Treeless was gradually becoming tree filled.............
As we rounded a bend in the road I was surprised to see these big horn sheep grazing close to the highway.
My Mountain Boy pulled the truck over and I stepped out quietly trying to not scare these guys away.
It is obvious that they are very used to people because although they were aware of and watchful of me, they were relatively unconcerned.
I did not get too close and snapped pictures every few steps, expecting them at any moment to take off in a run.
They never did...........
LC standing at the back of the truck, waiting patiently for me to take my pictures.
By this time my eyes were looking ahead to snow capped mountains.
I knew that the park was closed, and that in reality we did not have enough time to even get that close to the entrance, but it was becoming increasingly obvious that we were heading into alpine country.
Familiar country to me now after having spent much of my free time in Juneau on trails and in the mountains.........
A few more miles along the highway we came to yet another herd grazing on the opposite side of the road.......
I had never seen buffalo before.
I was mesmerized by them.  They were huge, intense, fierce looking, also obviously used to people.
As I took pictures of them I was very wary and very watchful, but they were wonderful to see.
This first trip west was turning into a huge adventure, and I was loving every minute of it.............
We stopped finally about 30 miles outside of Cody
By the time we pulled into this rest area we were in territory that could have very easily been in Alaska instead of Wyoming.
We were in the mountains, with pine trees and snow and ice and rivers and bridges.
Scenery that I have photographed for 14 months, but which I never got tired of.
I felt at peace for the first time in a while and I stood in the snow and looked around me.
It was completely quiet.
It was not very cold, and in the span of 30 miles we had passed rock formations, a dam and reservoir, buffalo and mountain sheep, horses and geese, grassland and hills and mountains and snow.
We vowed to leave earlier in the day next time and to drive as close to the entrance of Yellowstone National Park as we could within the next few days.
Both of us wanted to see what was "out there" - further "Out the Road".............
These pictures of the river and buffalo and goats were taken on the way back to town.
We have been staying at a temporary-stay cottage for rent in town, and this week found a small house for rent that is truthfully nothing to write home about.
It is very small and most likely will be a short term place until we get ourselves squared away a little more.
But it is cheap, about four miles outside of town on horse land in rolling hills, and we can rent it month to month.
The lack of commitment is appealing.
As is the quiet.
I can easily picture myself walking and running and biking quiet hills and quiet gravel roads out there.
A retired cop lives in the house across the road.
Fishing is close by.
And that all sounds very good to both of us right now.
We are still not certain that this will be home.
It is not as expensive as Juneau but is more expensive than Tennessee.
We'll see.
But right now it feels right to both of us.
And right now that is good enough.............

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