Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Undiscovered Treasure

We woke up, looked outside and saw that it had snowed overnight and was still continuing to snow lightly this morning.
There was about an inch of fresh snow on the ground, and while making coffee I saw from the thermostat hanging outside the kitchen sink window that it was 24 degrees............

On a warm and sunny Saturday a few days ago LC and I got up early and enthusiastically headed out on the hunt for dressers and lamps at yard sales downtown.
Yard sales are beginning to pick up now that Spring is here (at least it WAS here until last night) and we spent the morning cruising neighborhoods and rummaging through people's cast-offs.
It is still early in the season and we bought stuff we did not really need (including a western inspired Christmas wreath and a cowboy-riding-a-bucking bronco Santa) but no dressers or lamps.
We'll try again next weekend.
By mid-morning we were done with yard saling in Cody and debated where to go next (maybe Powell - maybe check out the community yard sale out in Clark).
We settled on Clark and headed out that way having no idea where the Clark Community Center was but figuring we could drive around and/or ask around and find it.
LC was still on the hunt for a gun holster...........

Clark is a small community of about 350 people 30 miles from Cody.
There is one generic all-purpose store on the Belfry Highway before you turn off to go to Clark but no other businesses in that community.
No stores.  No gas stations.  Only a school and a church and a community center and lots of homes spread out over a surprisingly large area.
LC and I (in exploration mode once again and greatly enjoying being outside on such a warm day) pulled into a church parking lot so that Jamie could walk and so that I could take pictures of the mountains.
Here is the beautiful western-inspired church...........
For a small community this was a very sweet little cowboy church........
We found the Community Center and while I walked inside to see what useless treasures I could find LC headed towards an elderly man selling items in the parking lot from a large horse trailer.
I did not find anything I could not live without but LC did indeed find a holster.
Happy with his find we again debated which way to go.
Should we drive to Powell and continue our yard saling or drive into the huge canyon we could see between the mountains in back on Clark.
It was a no-brainer.
We headed towards the mountains.
On the way we surprisingly came across these guys............
When we first landed in Cody we looked over not only the town but also surrounding towns, when trying to decide where we wanted to live.
There were a couple of places to rent in Clark and we did check them out.
We had heard stories about Clark - mostly related to the wind and the rocks.
We had been told that the wind was extremely strong in Clark - even stronger than in Cody - and I have heard stories about roofs being ripped off, roads buckling, and winds up to 125 miles per hour at certain times of year coming down from the canyon.
Luckily it has not been windy the times we have been out to Clark, but the ground is some of the worst that I have ever seen.
More rock than should be allowed in one place.
There are many large ranches (I have been told they are called ranches in Wyoming and not farms), and it is obvious that some ranch owners have cleared out pieces of their land.
But where the land that has NOT been cleared out is completely overwhelmed with rock.........
Driving down one road we came to this wonderful sign that indicated entrance to a buffalo ranch.......
A good sized herd of buffalo protected by an electrified fence.
There are bear and coyote and mountain lions out this way...........
By the time we arrived at the buffalo ranch we were closer to the mountains, the ground was a little better quality and the mountain views were very beautiful.
I was very glad we decided to head this way..........
The highway heading into the canyon..........
Looking down over the Clark River.
By this time we were deep into the canyon and there were huge rocky mountains on both sides of us.
Now we know - once you get beyond the flat land of the actual community of Clark you are in a beautiful place.
We were beginning to love this drive, and my Mountain Boy and I both felt like we had discovered a hidden treasure.
This was not the Buffalo Bill Scenic Parkway heading towards Yellowstone.
And this was not the Chief Joseph Scenic Parkway heading up over the mountains towards either the ski resort town of Red Lodge Montana or the north east gate of Yellowstone.
This was a huge canyon in back of the quiet community of Clark.
And the tourists most likely would not be coming to this place this summer.
We smiled at each other over our wonderful and surprising discovery..............
Another five miles and we dead-ended at an entrance to the Shoshone National Forest............
At the dead-end we turned into the parking area and drove down one of the most horrendously rocky and rutted out driveways I had ever seen and which led to the parking area.
Thankful to have four wheel drive, but worried about tearing up something in LC's truck, we resolved to park on the road next time we came down this way.
We made it in one piece and after some precarious driving so did our ride.
After parking the truck we unloaded and found this...........
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.....John Muir

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