Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spring Cold And Winter Cold

In April of 2011 LC and I went to Meeteetse for the first time.
That day was spring-cold.  Not the winter-cold we were greeted with when we first ventured out of the house on Christmas morning. 
The difference between winter and spring cold is barely perceptable in Tennessee.
In Wyoming the difference between the two is a world apart.
A link to our first trip to Meeteetse last year, on a day when we wandered through free museums and ate burgers in the same bar where cattle rustlers and bank robbers of another time also ate their meals.
A year and a half later we were again headed that way.
The highway and the 30 minute drive to this tiny town was almost completely empty.
During the short drive we saw only three other vehicles on the highway and two bulls partially hidden behind tall snow-covered sage bushes.
Just on the outskirts of town we finally began to see homes again. 
Most were large ranches on multiple acres of land.
Christmas Day was freezing cold but the sky by this time was absolutely clear.
LC pulled the truck over onto the shoulder of the highway at my request, I climbed out, shivered against the cold and then wandered across the two lane road so that I could take pictures of the cows.
They had all been quietly grazing and (even though I tried to not disturb them), when I walked up to the cattle guard, as one they lifted their heads to watch me.
The entire group of black Angus directly in front of me, who were spread out out over a large swath of snow covered pasture, and who until only moments before had been engrossed in eating dried grasses that were buried under the snow, now stood unmoving and wary...............
Gradually they began to wander and graze again, determining (again almost as one) that I was no threat to them.
I stood beside the fence and balanced precariously on the rungs of the frozen cattle guard, briefly enjoying the challenge of staying upright.
After taking pictures of the cows I lowered my camera and took in the scene around me.
The sun shone brilliantly - still providing no warmth but making the world sparkle.
The sky was bluer.  The snow was whiter.  The cattle were blacker.  Every color was magnified by the strong sunlight and the world looked beautiful...................
A brief side trip down an unknown gravel side road.
We took it simply to see what was there.
Isolated and small homes dotted the terrain occasionally, but mostly there was nothing.
There are little more than 500,000 people in the entire state.
Huge expanses of the state contain nothing and nobody.
It is one of the things that draws us to this place..................
Eventually we made it into the town of Meeteetse.
There are few businesses in town, and what businesses there are were all closed for the holiday.
As we approached the corner of one street I looked for the grizzly, and smiled when I saw him covered with snow and wearing a Santa hat...............
A town abandoned.................
LC and I had left James at the house, and together we wandered along the main street, looking in windows and quietly talking together.
There is little in the way of commercialism in Meeteetse.
A gas station.  A small chocolatier that I suspect does more business via the Internet than they do from their store front.
A couple of burger restaurants decorated as though from the old west.
The town contains a rich history of bank robbers and cattle rustlers.
Of old stage coaches.
Of Malboro Man cigarette commercials being filmed at one of the local and very wealthy ranches.
As we slowly made our way back to the truck I (on the spur of the moment) told LC that I wanted to walk down to one of the museums.
The museum proper would be closed, but they also had old wagons and old farming implements standing outside the museum and I wanted to take pictures of them.
I kiss LC, he crossed over the road to retrieve the truck, and I trudged through the snow towards the museum..................

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