Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Go Away

 After two straight days of heavy rain throughout the region we woke up this morning to yet one more day of rain.
The forecast calls for multiple days of sunshine and warm temperatures beginning tomorrow but today it was pouring.
Hunkering down at the house and keeping the fire going for a couple of days was fine - but by this morning we all had cabin fever and it was time to leave the sanctuary of our home and head out.
As we stepped outside the first thing I noticed was the snow.
Snow completely and heavily covered the mountains at higher elevations and even the hills behind our house were lightly dusted in snow.  
A few hundred more feet and we would have again (on May 10) had snow in our yard..........

We debated on taking a drive up Chief Joseph Scenic By-way and as we headed out that way decided to hold off and instead go out to Clark.
The last time we were there was on a beautiful and very warm day and we drove through the canyons in back of Clark, eventually dead-ending at an entrance to the Shoshone National Forest.
Beautiful mountains, a beautiful and free flowing river, and endless mountain wilderness.
At the back of the rocky main community of Clark we took the left fork leading to the canyon.
Today we took the right fork, passing by the elementary school and heading first on paved and then onto muddy dirt road out to who knew where.
We were curious and eager to explore on this wet day with heavy and very low lying cloud cover.
Pictures taken at pull-offs along Highway 120 between Cody and Belfry Montana...........
 A deer carcass on one side of the driveway.
His legs were lying on the other side of the driveway at a pull off............
 After passing the Clark community center, taking the right fork in the road and then passing the school we continued, having no idea what we would find.
We came out to Clark not long after we first arrived in Cody, eager to take a look at a cabin for rent.
When we drove out there, saw how incredibly and overwhelmingly rocky the flat land was, saw how beige and monotone the terrain was, and then turned down a dirt road containing only large piles of beige dirt and no grass or trees, we decided to not go see the cabin.
At the time it all looked so bleak. 
Too bleak for two people who had just been through the experience in Juneau that we had been through.
Almost two months later I can honestly say that I now wished we had given the area a chance.
The last time we were out this way (when we found the canyon and river and mountains) I labeled the blog post Undiscovered Treasure.  
I felt the same way again today as we discovered yet one more wonderful part of this small community called Clark.
Maybe we are giving the area a second chance after all..........
 LC and I were traveling very slowly and focusing all of our attention to our right, so I was surprised when I finally looked to the right and two antelope were running down the side of the road almost side by side with us.
My equally surprised Mountain Boy stopped the truck (yes in the middle of the quiet road) and I excitedly and quietly climbed out of the vehicle wanting to take some good shots of these lovely creatures.
They are lovely but they are also elusive animals.
Amazingly fast and agile and elusive, many times gone before you hardly even knew they were there.
I have seen hundreds and hundreds over the past two months - always from a distance and either sitting in a field or in a full on run.
I was excited to see them so close..........
 As I watched the two trotting down the road and in the sage along the side of the road I realized that there was also a small herd in the field on the other side of the fence.
Somehow and for some reason these two stragglers had found themselves separated from the herd.
The ones in the field were totally focused on the two in the street.
The ones in the street were totally focused on the rest of the herd in the field.
It was obvious from body language that everyone wanted to be reunited............
 I stood beside the truck watching this drama unfold and fully expected that the two would easily jump over the fence to join with the others but surprisingly they did not.
They instead easily crawled under the fence, hooked back up with the rest of the herd and together they all moved on with their antelope journey.
The herd consisted of a hand full of females and one eager male trailing behind.
A happy ending of reunification.
A happy ending of animals settled and reassured and together as they should be.  
I wrote the antelope story as it unfolded in front of me and I liked the ending...........
 Moving further into the mountains and further away from civilization.........
 Although it was raining heavily in Cody when we left town, it was dry out in Clark for the entire duration of our visit.
More green every single day.
With the three heavy days of rain, and with the scheduled sunshine for the foreseeable future green will continue to prevail.
I like it.
I like it very much.............
 On muddy roads we climbed consistently as we traveled further into the hills.
This picture was taken looking down at a narrow winding river and on a narrow and winding dirt road..........
 The one oil drill we saw during our travels...........
With the majestic mountains and deep canyons Clark has a reputation of sometimes having winds so strong it could almost tear your head off.
Certainly it has been known to rip off the roofs of homes.
But the more often I visit this out-of-the-way place (with no stores or gas stations or restaurants) the more I like it.
Undiscovered Treasure indeed............
 After taking our time, stopping frequently and taking many pictures we again came to a dead end, and again at yet one more entrance to the Shoshone National Forest.
The mountains were all around us, ominous looking and cloud covered.
I looked up at them and could see the pine trees.
Knew from all the walks in all the mountains I have taken over the years in more states than I can count, exactly what was up there.
I stood looking at them wanting very much to walk.
Up there.
Into the mountains.
Very much.
It was not going to happen of course because we were out for a drive.  
It was already mid-afternoon.  
I had no gear.
So instead I stood looking up at them, got back into the truck and we turned the truck around to head back the way we had come.............
 Shoshone National Forest.
One of two trail heads close to the road...........
 A beautiful clump of small blue wild flowers..............
 An oil storage facility located not far from the oil well I also photographed...........
 I laughed when I saw this sign located at the entrance to a ranch close to the national forest.
Kinda says it all, eh??
 One of two horses and one of a small herd of antelope that were happily grazing together in the same pasture........
 I took this picture at a bad angle while sticking my camera out of the window of the truck, but chose to post it anyway.
The house in the center of the picture looked so incredibly and wonderfully surreal floating on a sea of different shades of dusty green, and surrounded by layer upon layer of cloud-shrouded mountains.
It was very beautiful to see in person...........
 The antelope on BLM land in Cody seem so much more skittish than the ones we saw today in Clark.
We managed to get much closer to these than I could ever hope to near our house.
I don't know why that is but I greatly enjoyed seeing them moving more slowly and seeing them so close to us..........
 A small creek we crossed as we were scoping out a piece of property we had seen online.
That was not the reason we drove to Clark but since we were out this way..........
 The second male antelope we saw today.
This one grazing alone.........
 Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain......Author Unknown

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