Monday, August 1, 2011

Random Pictures On Rainy Day

I ran early this morning, and although it was hot and unusually humid I was thankful to get it out of the way before the rain began.
It is now 62 degrees and raining hard - neither of which has happened in this area in the past couple of months.
I have joked recently that we moved from a place where it rained all the time to a place where it never rains.
These are all random pictures taken both recently and over the course of the months since we first arrived in Cody.
The picture above of my Mountain Boy and my dog was taken not long after moving into our small rental home in the country.
The week before I had headed out onto BLM land behind the house, mountain biking for the first time in what seemed like a very long time.
I had no idea where I was headed but was eager to explore my new surroundings.
Happy to be on my bike, relishing the effort, trying to remember how to do something that was second nature to me for so many years but which I had done little of since leaving Tennessee.
After only a mile on new and foreign trails I unexpectedly dead-ended at a box canyon and debated my next move.
Should I turn around and find another trail or drop my bike and hike up and over a ridge to see what was there?
I ended up on foot, climbing first one hill, and then another higher hill and then another one until I finally walked far enough away from the typical sage brush of the lower land and found myself surrounded by interesting rock formations and pine trees.
And then I saw the beautiful Oregon Basin for the first time while standing on my high perch.
The following week I dragged LC and Jamie up there eager to show them what I had found.
It was May by this time and our previous experience in other states told us that the weather should be warm.
It was not warm. 
It was freezing cold and very windy.
We spent many hours exploring multiple high ridges that day, all the while getting battered around by high winds.
But it was a very good day.................... 

After heading down to Mentock Park for a second time to see the balloon lighting a few evenings ago we were not yet ready to head home.
We drove through town, eventually making our way to the circular driveway close to the hospital and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
Although there were a handful of vehicles parked in the area there was no-one else out on foot.
With darkness quickly descending LC and I walked with Jamie with no particular destination in mind.
We wandered and talked and allowed Jamie to set the pace and the direction, and so we walked in such "interesting" places as the green space behind the museum because that is where our dog caught sight of a rabbit.
A dog can only chase a rabbit so far while on a leash, and after the rabbit had made a chump out of our great
canine-hunter and disappeared safely under a fence James spent the next 15 minutes covering every square inch of the green space, sniffing out rabbit tracks.
That probably sounds like a boring way to spend time on a Friday evening but there are times when we just want to give Jamie space and allow her to set the agenda.
And so this was her time.
After chasing rabbits and then rabbit tracks we casually wandered up the stairs leading to the Buffalo Bill statue.
Sitting on a bench on a warm Friday evening looking out over Heart Mountain behind us and the statue and lights of downtown Cody in front of us turned out to be a nice and quiet time.
We had toyed with the idea of taking in the Park County Fair this past weekend and also possibly an outdoor concert but never did.
We still need much quiet.  We still need much quiet time alone and together.
And a statue of Buffalo Bill Cody against a purple sky fit that bill...................
Mentock Park includes an outdoor skate park and the other evening LC and I watched the gravity defying and typically fearless young boys on scooters and skate boards and trick bicycles showing out for each other and the growing crowd of onlookers.
I took a lot of pictures of them but most were junk pictures - either out of focus while trying unsuccessfully to catch these kids in motion, or just missing out on the action by a fraction of a second.
These kids were great and I had a great time watching them.............
These folks had chairs and a fire set up close to Mentock Park to watch the balloon lighting.
Notice the two kids perched on the roof top.
Best view in the house............
The crowd at the park waiting to catch a glimpse of the balloon lighting.
There is a pit bull in the picture to the bottom right.
LC and I stood and watched the skate boarders and trick bikers for a good 10 minutes and while standing close to the skate park immediately noticed that this pit bull had completely focused on Jamie.
We walked away from the skate park and slowly headed towards the location of the balloon baskets (no balloons set up at that point) and as we continued we both realized that the pit bulls focus on our dog had become even more intense.
LC pulled Jamie's leash closer but by the time we were 20 feet from the pit bull it angrily growled and made a full speed lunge at our dog.
LC pulled Jamie right beside him, and the dog lunged so hard and fast that he pulled his owner (the lady with the blond hair and black shirt in the picture) completely around and flat onto her stomach.
So this woman is now lying on her stomach and her dog has the leash extended as far out as it can go and the woman's arm is completely extended as far as IT can go.
And her dog very much wants our dog.
Thankfully the woman managed to hold on to the leash.
Because by the time it made a lunge for our dog LC had his hand on his gun and the woman knew it.
We looked at the woman.  LC kept one hand on Jamies leash and one hand on his gun.  And the woman looked at us and then talked to her dog in a sing song voice like that of a mother talking to a small child, telling her pit bull "no you can't go play with her".
Why a woman would bring such an animal to a function where old people and young children and less aggressive dogs are in attendance remains an open question.
With no appropriate answer.......................
One more picture of the statue.
While standing looking at it the other night I wondered whether this beautiful statue, tucked away in a corner of town gets the attention that it deserves.
I wondered how many visitors to town drive right by it without even knowing that it is there.
Maybe a lot. 
Maybe not as many as I think.
Regardless, it is one of the first things we ever saw upon our arrival in Cody and I have loved it from that first moment............
A view from the Buffalo Bill statue looking back towards downtown..................
Heart Mountain behind us at sunset...............
A picture of a pasture located within only minutes of the house and only a few miles outside of town.
The growing Summer season provides an unbelievable transformation to this area.
I joked when we first arrived in Cody in early March that the mono-chromatic beige color of........everything........made the area look exactly like the Afghan-Pakistani border region.
It could only be described (to this gypsey-Alaskan-Tennessean transplant) as ugly.
Or fugly.
But with Spring rain and mountain runoff and irrigation canals and endless sunshine something magical happens to this area.
It transforms into completely and perfectly beautiful.
I have passed by this one particular pasture hundreds of times.
And in mid-Summer it is filled with multiple types of grasses, ever changing wild flowers, mature shade trees that provide cover for local deer herds.
BLM hills are in the background of this picture, but this pasture also displays the grandeur of Carter Mountain in the background in many other pictures I have posted over these past months.
I never get tired of looking at it................
To me these are the increasing colors of Fall.
Only these pictures were taken (also close to the house) just yesterday.
The green is rapidly fading now.
Everything slowly but surely and definitely is becoming brown again.
Mono-chromatic beige.
The rules of engagement are different at 5000 feet.
Short growing seasons.  Late Springs.  Late Summers.  Late melt-offs.  Late animal baby-births.............
Only a mile from the house yesterday we pulled the truck over to the side of the road.
I excitedly climbed out of the truck while digging out my camera.
We saw the mother and two babies first, and then almost immediately realized that a buck was also with this young family.
Neither one of us have ever seen a buck traveling with a doe and fawns before, but as I crossed the road to stand beside the fence line and take some pictures it was very obvious that the four were indeed all traveling together...........
They make me smile.
These gentle and beautiful creatures.
I like seeing them sitting in the shade of a tree by the library, wandering from home to home in town, seeing them grazing and sitting in large and small herds in almost every pasture, looking out of my kitchen window and realizing that they are unexpectedly grazing on the bushes beside the house.
After photographing the deer I turned to photograph the landscape-dominating and ever-present Heart Mountain..........
Photographs of the outdoor and musician inspired mural located on the side of a commercial building in downtown Powell...............
Metal sculpted Buffalo Bill Cody signs hanging from every street lamp downtown...............
My name in rocks in the sand beside the Shoshone River in Shoshone National Forest.
A throwback to the compulsive rock statues and names written in stone that I saw so frequently while living in Juneau.................
Jamie is now about 12 years old.
The vet says that she is very healthy for an older dog and I hope that this wonderful companion is still around for a long time to come.
She loves adventure and loves to travel as much as both LC and I do, and she willingly and excitedly goes wherever we go.
As much as I still feel guilty about dragging LC all the way to Alaska for what turned out to be a horrible experience, I also feel guilty about dragging my sweet girl up there as well.
She takes everything in stride and uses us for her anchors.
As long as we are OK she also seems to be OK.
She is a beloved companion for both of us...................
The outside of the Irma Hotel and a picture of one of the tourist trolley cars...............
I imagined earlier in the year that Cody would be completely packed with wall to wall people and vehicles during the Summer tourist season.
It has been busy but not as busy as I thought that it might be.
Anecdotally we have heard that tourism is down this year compared to other years - a combination of a challenging economy, a wet Spring, and a late opening to the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park..................
Dandelion filled and well irrigated pastures on a cloudy day in the Southfork in June.
The Southfork is absolutely beautiful - lots and lots of trees, rich pasture land, large farms, huge and towering mountain ranges.
We love to head out that way and do so often....................
Taken on a dirt road not far from the house that leads directly onto BLM land during one of my recent runs.
It is has been very very hot and very dry for so long, and running is a tough challenge right now.
I do miss trees.  Lots of green trees with lots of cool shade.
I have not walked or run or biked on BLM land since seeing that first rattle snake.
There are many rattle snakes out there and I just feel too vulnerable wandering through grasses and sage brush and the large rocks where these nasties prefer to wander-slither.
And so I am staying on dirt roads right now greatly missing the physical and mental challenges of trails.
Not quite as bad as running on a treadmill.
But not too much better......................

I heard yesterday that an adventure racer from South Carolina died while mountain bike training.
I knew this man.
I raced with him only once so did not know him well, but he was a good man with a young family.
Cause of death still is undetermined but the thought right now is that he got distracted by large hornets nests, went over an embankment and broke his neck.
The woman he was riding with got stung more than 50 times while performing CPR on her training partner.
She was also the one who called 911.
The adventure racing community is a very small community and even though I did not know him well I still feel this tragic loss......................
Sunset at the house.................
The old lady who lives next door has never been married and does not have children.
And so she dedicates all of her energy and attention to two things - her horses and her plants.
Every year she sets up planter containers filled with vegetable plants.
She must have a 100 of them - all large containers filled with growing tomatoes, zucchinis, peppers, potatoes, celery, green onions and who knows what else?
LC and I are often the very lucky recipients of salsa and spaghetti sauce and other great foods coming from vegetables she has canned in years passed.
Which works out very well because she loves to cook and we love to eat.
She finds it very rewarding to expend so much energy and then see her efforts pay off with baskets filled with fresh grown vegetables....................
James and I visited the lady the other day.
Planters everywhere. 
Everything green and cared for and growing.
I have been told that her plants like to listen to old country music.
They seem to like the song Harper Valley PTA the most....................

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