Thursday, May 30, 2013

Carter Mountain Access Road - Part 1

I have never seen Wyoming so green before.
I didn't even know that Wyoming could GET so green.
But here we are two days before June, and the weather recently has been cool, windy, and rainy.
We have had more rain over the past month than I have ever seen here before, and the world looks crisp, clean and anything but the beige world that I am so used to in Wyoming.
A few days ago my Mountain Boy and my dog and I drove out the South Fork, heading towards Carter Mountain Access Road.
I am not sure why, but we have never driven this road before.
The picture above is of Castle Rock.
It is located about 20 miles south of Cody, in straight up farming country, and adjacent to the Shoshone National Forest.
It is beautiful beautiful beautiful out here. 
Homes are disgustingly expensive and get only more beautiful and more expensive the further down the South Fork you travel.
The farms are surrounded in all directions by mountains...............
Not long after passing Castle Rock, we turned left off the highway and immediately began to climb.
We were on private land, but were traveling on a dirt and gravel public road the cut it's way through this private property.
Every quarter mile we would see signs posted reminding travelers that this was private property and to stay on the road.
As we have done in other explorations of the past, LC and I drove in amazement.
Amazement at the beauty of the land.
Amazement that we were traveling through endless miles of private property on public roads that cut through it.
The land at this elevation looked like BLM land - mostly treeless, endless sage brush and hills. 
I had never seen this kind of land so green before.
The rain has made beautiful land even more beautiful..............
We still had a long way to climb, but I asked LC to stop the truck for a moment so that I could snap these pictures, looking down over the farm land we had just passed by before turning off............
And a look at where we were headed.
Neither LC nor I knew exactly where we were going. 
We weren't certain how far we would be able to travel before public access ended, but as I looked up into the high mountains ahead of us, I hoped that we would be able to travel a long way. 
Maybe even all the way into these mountains............
Rain bands making their way over the mountains from the south, and heading in our direction............
As LC slowly drove the winding, climbing road, I was snapping pictures furiously - trying to capture on my digital camera the magnitude of the mountains.
They were behind us, they were to the south of us, they were directly in front of us, they were visible looking back towards Cody.
Looking at these pictures now I realize that my camera could not do the terrain justice.
The world around us was absolutely empty and silent and it was enormous.
An endless world of mountain and sky.
What the camera DID capture though, were the colors of the world.
All of the endless different shades of blue and green and grey and brown.
So different from Tennessee or Alaska.
The "different" of it all still takes my breathe away.
Even after being back in Wyoming for almost a year now.................
Somewhere in these pictures there is one lone antelope.
I don't remember which pictures and can't see him when the pictures are all this size.
If you click on the pictures they will enlarge, and maybe you can find Waldo.
He stood on a rise a few hundred yards away and when Jamie started barking at him he began running.
These beige, black and white, very skittish and fast moving animals blend seamlessly with the terrain............
A look back at the road we had just traveled..............
We had been climbing for 30 minutes and still had a long way to go..............
As well as mountains all around us, we were also surrounded by increasingly unsettled weather.
Bands of rain were passing over the mountains to our south, and were working their way in our direction.
A strong, dark and ominous looking band had also made its way through a canyon, and was also heading our way.
We were taking the day as it came.  We would continue to climb as long as the road would allow us to.  We would continue climbing as long as the weather held up............
We had driven 30 minutes beyond Buffalo Bill Reservoir, and had been climbing on the access road for well over 30 minutes.
And so I was surprised when we stopped the truck one more time so that I could climb out to take pictures, and realized that I was looking down over the reservoir again.
It was a long way from where we were, but it looked as though I could just walk down the hill and go for a swim.
I loved the quiet of this people-less place.................
After climbing a few thousand feet the temperature had dropped a good deal.
It was cold, and LC and I both reached into the back of the truck to grab for jackets that we always keep in the vehicle.
I love this picture of this man.
A strong, solid, loving picture of a good man that I feel privileged to know.
I'm starting to lose track of how long we have been together now.
Our world has changed and changed and changed again since we first met.
He is my best friend.
The only person I trust absolutely.
The only person I have ever trusted absolutely.
I like this picture very much..............

Monday, May 27, 2013

What Do You Say To That

We are now in the last week of May and today the weather is cold, windy and unsettled.
A tornado touched down this morning in the small community of Meeteetse, about 30 minutes south east of us.
Originally LC and I had planned on taking a free wheeling, four wheeling trip with someone I have come to know through the business I started.
He purchased his side-by-side off-road vehicle recently, because (as he jokes with me, but I somehow think that he is more serious than he lets on) it would be a "chick magnet".
I'm not sure about the chick magnet aspect, but this intelligent and lonely man does seem to be enjoying his new toy, and spends a lot of time exploring BLM land in the area.
There is much to explore.
He his a little older, has some health issues, and when I don't hear from him for a few days I call him and tell him that I'm just checking to make certain that the ravens aren't pecking the eyes out of the skull of his dead carcass, out on BLM.
We had arranged to meet at his place at noon but by 10:30 this morning we were surrounded by ominous looking clouds that were circling us in all directions, and they were coming across the mountains and heading our way.
The rain never made it to the house but the winds are now cold and strong.
I called the old man after I heard the tornado warning because he lives down in that general area, warning him to stay indoors and to not head out on such an unsettled day.
And so - in the last week of May - we have a small fire burning in the wood stove, and the house is rocking due to the cold winds.
These pictures were all taken in the yard and along the road where we live, and were taken well over a month ago.
There was still snow on the ground and it was a cold and very clear evening.
Where we lived in Tennessee it was always a challenge to catch decent pictures of the sunset.
Hard to get away from civilization.  Away from people.  Hard even to find an open spot in between the abundant trees that I loved so much.
In Wyoming it is an easy task to capture pictures of the setting sun.
We live a few miles outside of town and are surrounded by wide open space and multiple mountain ranges.
The sky is beautiful.  The mountains are beautiful.  The sunsets are beautiful.
I took these pictures while slowly walking around the house and down the dirt road.
Walking alone with both my thoughts and my dog............
We have had more rain over the past couple of weeks than I ever imagined that Cody would get.
These pictures show remaining snow, but it is gone now and in its place is a world greener than I ever expected to see Wyoming.
The water was turned on in the irrigation canal a couple of weeks ago.
The canal snakes its way through the entire Big Horn Basin and feeds the fields that farmers have already plowed and planted.
Water.  Green.  Sun.  It is an extraordinary combination that brings a world that has been sleeping in winter hibernation, to life............
I continue to worry about my youngest son Chris.
My son Chris........
I don't know where his head is.  Where his heart is.
I left voice mail messages for him two days in a row, telling him I was thinking of him and hoped that things were alright.
He called me last night to tell me that he was fine, and although he was calling me to reassure me that he was OK he also did not feel like talking right now.
What does a mother say to that?
"OK Babe.  Call me when you can.  I hope that you're OK.  I love you."
I love you Baby............
Where is the son I used to know?.............
One of the five beautiful horses that lives on the property.
A wild mustang that is now a domestic animal.
Without enough human interaction and ridden too rarely..............