I hope I get this story right.
If you look at the picture above you can see snow towards the center right of the mountain that is shaped like a horse (face pointing to the left, long neck leading down the mountain).
That is a consistent snow pattern on this mountain - seen each Spring and throughout the remainder of the year even during the hottest months.
As the weather eventually begins to warm up and the Spring melt-off begins locals watch the horse.
When the melt-off begins you can see the reigns of the horse hanging down from the front of the face.
Locals watch the reigns. When the reigns eventually disappear they know that the melt-off is complete.............
The picture I took in the previous posts of my two hiking friends standing on a ledge was taken down at the bottom of this hill.
The consistent theme throughout our hike had been endless climbing - one hilly switchback after another for six straight miles.
I thought that we were finally done climbing but of course we were not.
This short stretch of grassy double track led up to the first of a handful of radio towers we came across.
The others walked the double track while I veered off trail to wander along the hillside to the right of this picture.
I stood for a few moments looking out over endless miles of hazy mountains off in the distance, still snow capped mountains along the Southfork, never ending rolling hills and farmland and barely-green tabletops and a sky so blue that it could only be described as Wyoming-blue.
Stood looking out over forever.
A few pictures and I traipsed along behind my compadres feeling great accomplishment that we had climbed a million miles away from civilization and into a magical mountain world.
One last climb into the world of radio waves and microwave frequencies.............
As we bypassed each of the towers we heard a noise off the trail to our left.
I searched the ground looking for the source of the noise and suddenly saw this bird.
I am not certain what it was. LC says "prairie chicken" which I have never heard of before. I thought at the time that maybe it was a pheasant.
Regardless, all three of us stood in one place, one behind the other on the trail, while I fumbled with my camera trying to zoom in and capture a picture of her before she flew away.
I snapped a couple of quick pictures and this is the only one that turned out.
As we watched her wandering back and forth and obviously upset by our presence, one of my hiking buddies said "she has a nest"
At that we realized that we needed to move along...............
It was a long and hot climb.
It was definitely worth it.
We stood looking at the 360 views of incredibly rugged and beautiful terrain carved over millions of years of rock and ice and volcanic activity.
And then took a few pictures, ate and drank and quietly celebrated our achievement before heading back the way we had come...............
I did not stop to take pictures of this place on the way up but did photograph it on the way back down the same rocky and dusty and gravel-covered switchbacks we had covered on he way up.
Surprisingly it is a private home and even more surprisingly I learned that a good part of Cedar Mountain is private property.
By the time we had climbed about half way up the mountain we began to regularly see signs. The public was welcome to travel the area as long as they stayed on the road.
My first reaction when I learned that a good portion of the mountain was privately owned was "how can anyone afford to own a mountain?"
There is a lot of money in Cody as evidenced by real estate prices, the very large ranches in the region and the number of private planes that land at the Cody-Yellowstone airport every single day.
But there are also people such as the owners of this lone mountain home that has been in their family for generations.................
If you look very closely at this picture there is a very extensive rock fence that completely surrounds this home.
In all the fence spans approximately five acres.
All three of us were amazed at the amount of work that must have gone into the building of this structure.
I have seen many rock fences over the years down south but this wall was much thicker, in much better shape, and much more detailed.
And all three of us wondered where the rock had come from.
After looking closely at the rock that made up this fence and then looking at the rock in the area they did not match.
Rock on Heart Mountain is primarily grey or a reddish color.
Not the white and light beige rock of this fence. It must have been transported in.
Which makes this fence an even more incredible accomplishment.................
Two of the cauldrons close to the winding Shoshone River..............
It was a very good day.
My walking companions were good fun.
The hike was challenging but very doable and the payoff for the effort were stunning views of the area.
I'll be sore for a couple of days.
But it was definitely worth it...............