Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beautiful Sunset Hour

On Friday evening LC and I ventured downtown to watch something that we have been meaning to see for a quite a while but have never seemed to get around to.
For the past fifteen years in downtown Cody (and on the closed street immediately outside the Irma Hotel) there has been a daily summer "gunfight" played out for the benefit and entertainment of tourists.
We had heard mixed reviews from local residents about the gunfights but wanted to experience it first hand, and with Irma Burgers and Irma Fries calling our names we decided to go watch the gunfight and then eat at this city's most historic of hotels.
After wandering through town for an hour and taking in the sights and sounds and smells that now belong to Cody in the middle of its tourist season, we headed back to the closed street and sought out a place to sit and watch the cowboy action..............
There were many hundreds of people crammed into the small area - sitting in rental chairs, chairs they had brought with them, on the curb, standing throughout the area.
It is a highlight for many visitors trip to Cody.
Too cheap to pay for rental chairs we both scoped out a section of the curb in the shade..............
Truthfully we did not stay for the entire thing.
The acting and story line were both challenged.
But it is conducted by volunteers who spent a good deal of time raising awareness of the foundations they support and ways that the audience could support those foundations, and it was a worthwhile activity to at least check out.
Fun costumes, fun buildings, gun safety, a long history of providing tourists with a taste of the cowboy way of life...........
Pictures of a wonderful lamp and large historic cowboy picture in the lobby of the Irma............
Also on Friday LC, our neighbor, Jamie and I all drove out to the Southfork on a very sunny, clear and warm day to visit with Rose, Snipper and Buddy.
These three horses belong to the owner of the property we are renting and our neighbor cares for the horses during the Winter and Spring.
The horses are out in the Southfork for Summer pasture, and between the sunshine and the plentiful green grass these very beautiful animals look content and very healthy.
This is the second time we have visited them this summer, and both times they all came running from the far end of the pasture when they heard their caregivers voice calling to them.
I still do not feel comfortable around horses but that is gradually changing as I gradually spend more time around them.
I had no idea that horses were so intelligent.  
That they were such curious and aware animals............
There are so many beautiful areas in and around Cody, but both the Northfork (Wapiti) and the Southfork of the Shoshone River are easily the most outstanding.
This pasture area in the Southfork is surrounded completely by mountains.
Directly in front of the mountains in this picture is the back side of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir.
Both areas are beautiful but property is very very expensive.
We have been researching a lot over the past months - looking at homes and areas and prices.
Beautiful but expensive.............
Within the past couple of weeks we have begun to see more and more bucks (both deer and antelope) in the area.
Driving home from the gunfight the other evening my Mountain Boy and I saw a group of 7 male deer jumping over a fence and into a neighbors yard not far from the house.
Yesterday morning two good sized bucks were walking down the center of our road as we headed towards town.
We have also recently begun to see more and more does with young offspring.
There is one doe who we see often in yards throughout our neighborhood.
Each evening she freely travels alone from one yard to the next, slowly grazing and walking and wandering and driving my dog bonkers.
I have no idea why she is alone but she appears to be uninjured.
A young lone buck - you can barely see him in this picture but he is standing in the middle of the road near the house............
A zoomed in picture of our lone boy.............
I am going to try and capture some better pictures of these fast moving guys.
For the past few weeks there has been a family of raccoons that have been also traveling in our local pastures.
They used to be a family of five but are now regretfully down to three.
LC and Jamie saw them first a few weeks ago.
James and I were walking late in the evening about a week ago and saw four of them scurrying across the dirt road at full speed before disappearing into the tall grass of a pasture.
The other night we saw that they were down to three when they all ran down our neighbors driveway, and again crossed over the dirt road before getting lost in the grass.
Last night I took this picture.
I only managed to capture two of them but they are actually still holding at three.
Like so many animals in nature they are there and then gone almost before you realize you had just caught sight of them................. 
While wandering around both Cody and Powell looking at heavy duty trucks and looking for yard sales, we came across this field of baled hay.
Taken on the outskirts of Powell.
The first hay cutting has for the most part been completed and ranchers are now irrigating in the hopes that there is enough growing season left for a second cutting.
Everything seems to happen later in Wyoming than it does in either Tennessee or Alaska and I can only put it down to the difference in elevation.
Spring comes later.  Green comes later.  Young animals come later................
Late yesterday evening LC and James and I took a drive out the Greybull Highway intending to go see the wild horses.
The day had been very warm and dry, and by the time we left the house and headed for the horses the sky was completely and absolutely and ridiculously blue.
The mountains were hazy in that way mountains can be late on a summer day.
And even though we had spent the morning driving throughout Cody and Powell and all point in between, we were both greatly in the mood to be away from people.
Away from people and the constant motion and commotion that they inevitably bring.
We needed quiet with each other.
To be only around each other.
James seems to know when we pull off paved highway, slow down and begin to drive on rutted out dirt roads, that we are looking for something.
Yesterday we were looking for wild horses.  
And the peace of being on BLM land far far away from the world.
Jamie was alert - excitedly making her Jamie noises while looking in all directions for whatever interesting things she could find on our big adventure.
Within only a few minutes we found small herds of antelope that blended so well with the terrain of BLM land, and that froze in place as we approached...............
And others that skipped away from us (alert but not overly wary since we were a long way from them) until they eventually slowed to a walk and then returned to grazing again...............
The greens of BLM land are already beginning to fade and turn to browns again, and with the exception of late summer sunflowers all of the wildflowers are also gone.
The ground is parched.  
 It is has not rained hard in more weeks than I can remember...............
Looking down from a hill top with the Big Horn Mountains off in the far distance...........
By the time we found these few horses it was 8:30pm and we elected to not explore any further onto BLM land.
The days are already beginning to get shorter and neither one of us wanted to get caught running into problems with the truck in the dark.
By this time we had been wandering further and further into no-mans land for almost an hour, finally found these few horses and decided to turn back...................
After hitting the highway again we began our drive home.
I looked ahead of me and could see the sun beginning to make its final decent behind the mountains to the west.
It was beautiful but I did not ask LC to pull over so that I could take pictures of it.
I ask him so often and he willingly obliges, good naturedly humoring the photography bug that bit me a year and a half ago now.
But this man who knows me better than anyone has ever known me surprisingly and wordlessly slowed the truck, pulled onto one more BLM side road, climbed a small hill and pulled into a wide open area alongside the road.
He looked at me and smiled.
"You need to take a picture of that"
I looked at him and smiled back.
Yes.  Yes I did...............
By:  Eddie Solo
Golden light cast in delicate glow, 
Casting long yet elegant shadows, 
Surrounded in amber hue, 
I sit...I wait, 
Covered from evening chill the sky burns before me, 
Blues to yellows to oranges and reds, 
A wondrous palate of colour, ever shifting...ever mixing, 
Dark blood red and deep purple spell the prequel to night, 
The darkness is almost upon me, 
Distant twinkling cousins join the old man in the moon, 
Together we will witness the final act, 
With tearful eyes I gaze at the incredible performance...and then, 
I sit...I wait, 
Gone now are the colours, 
Gone now is the day, 
And gone now is my beautiful sunset hour. 

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