The prevailing weather story across the country this summer has been the extremely hot and dry conditions.
With such conditions the sheer number of wildfires in the west has been daunting on so many levels.
We never had smoke in our area at any time last summer.
This summer we have frequently had smoky conditions, sometimes with the smoke being so thick that it completely obscured the mountains that surround this bowl that we live in that is known as the Big Horn Basin.
Yesterday started off no different from so many other days we have had this season - sunny, calm and very hot.
By late afternoon thick smoke was filtering over Carter Mountain and heading our way.
A couple of times since we have moved back to Cody my neighbor lady and I have walked together on our country road.
Both times we have been accompanied by our animals. I walked my dog Jamie and she walked her horse Dixie.
On a smoky late afternoon two women walked with their dog and their horse.............
These pictures were all taken as we slowly walked down our road.
The area is surrounded by BLM land and small mini-ranches.
We live towards the end of the road and walked the half mile to the end.
At the end of the road is one more ranch that backs directly onto BLM land.
I had never been onto that property before and finally had a chance to see it yesterday as we slowly wandered with our respective animals.
Together Chris and I walked slowly so that Jamie could sniff sage bushes and then mark her way up the road and as Dixie stopped frequently along the side of the road to eat anything that looked tasty to her.
Grey smoke turned purple by the strong sun that was trying hard to pierce through it, hung heavily in the air..............
The happy-go-lucky Wyoming dogs of one of our neighbors.............
Dixie is a beautiful and shy horse who my neighbor adopted a few years ago.
She was an abused animal and still carries scars around her front legs and her chest as a result of getting caught in a barbed wire fence.
Over the past couple of months she has slowly gotten used to LC, me and James.
I still approach her slowly and quietly because she startles easy, but when she sees me she recognizes me and recognizes my voice, and she always approaches to see if I have a handful of hay or a handful of weeds for her.
Often I do.
The first time I brought Jamie close to her I was not certain how this sweet horse would react. Or how Jamie would react for that matter.
I still am watchful of the two of them, and still ensure that Jamie does not get too close to her (especially too close behind her), but the two do not seem to mind each others' company...............
Smoky skies contribute to beautiful sunsets...............
At the end of the road is a ranch (that actually belongs to the owner of the happy pups in the picture above).
I was only on a wave-as-he-drives-by basis with the property owner but my neighbor knows him well.
I had assumed that when we reached his property we would simply turn around and head back, so I was surprised when Chris continued walking, heading onto his land.
He owns a small herd of horses and she wanted to see them.
As we approached the large dusty pen at the back of the property I was overwhelmed for a moment.
Between the beautiful horses, the smoke billowing slowly over Carter Mountain, the color of the BLM land and the color of the smoke against the sky, it was an unexpectedly beautiful and compelling scene.................
Puppy and pony both tied off at a safe distance from the other horses and from each other............
This friendly horse immediately walked over to me when he saw me and I smiled at him, spoke quietly and then reached through the fence to pet him.
He had no qualms at all about letting me touch him.
A glutton for attention and obviously spoiled, he immediately walked over to Chris after I stopped petting him.
A very sweet boy..................
I like this picture very much.
Maybe my favorite picture from our short walk..............
More pictures from the road as we headed back the way we had come.............
About 30 minutes after we made it home LC walked outside and took this picture from the porch.
A sunset picture of Cedar Mountain.
We see many beautiful sunsets during the summer in Cody but there is something very wonderful and unique about the watery, faded, subtle sunsets that we have seen on those days when smoke from wildfires in Wyoming and other western states filters this way................