Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Days Of Random

Some random pictures taken over the past month.
The grizzly bear above is one of many similar statues that are scattered throughout Cody (as well as other towns in Park County).
They were the precursor to the buffalo statues.
The first (and very successful) fund raiser for the major hospital that sits at the back of town.
As with the bison, the grizz statues are all unique.  All are decorated differently.
This particular grizz sits outside and greets visitors at the Wells Fargo Bank downtown.
He is dark brown in front and has a wonderful sunset painting on his back.............

A block or two up from where we are currently staying is a barber shop.
It is just off Sheridan Avenue, and is whimsically Cody.
Horse shoe cacti, Wyoming Cowboys, rustic cowboy decorations, and other picture-worthy items decorate the outside and inside, all of which make it simply a fun and interesting place to visit.
A place that obviously does not take itself too seriously.
And the barber shop apparently also provide good and cost effective mens haircuts................
Huge metal sign on the old stone exterior of a well known downtown bar called the Silver Dollar.................
This truck is outrageously wonderful.................
We spend a lot of time window shopping - sometimes just me and Kory, sometimes all three of us.
After living in a tiny and isolated desert community in Idaho for the past four years we still have not gotten over the novelty of being so close to stores.
And Cody is not like regular downtowns.
All of downtown Cody is extremely walkable - small and large parks, interesting and unique benches, beautiful statues, friendly people and friendly store owners, even dog bowls filled with water for four legged visitors.
Downtown Cody is filled with galleries and wonderful art work of all kinds,  and souvenir stores filled with the expensive and the cheap.  All the trinkets you would expect so that visitors can fondly remember their trip to this western town.
Cowboy stores filled with boots and hats and spurs and outdoor stores filled with outdoor gear.
Pizza restaurants, coffee shops, bars, Chinese and Japanese restaurants and fast food restaurants and even a German restaurant, and a multitude of places to buy a meal filled with........meat.  Pulled pork and steak and prime rib and hamburgers.
It is a quietly chaotic madhouse of people and traffic throughout the summer, and a quietly quiet place when the last of the tourists finally leave in mid fall.
In a few days I will walk downtown without my guy or my dog, and take endless pictures of store front windows that are now wonderfully decorated for Christmas.................
We went to this event.
Every year the community provides a free Thanksgiving meal for anyone in town who would like to go.
We went with Barb, and with about 100 other community members, and we visited with each other and ate a wonderful meal....................
The exterior of the Irma Hotel.
It is beautifully decorated for Christmas.
I need to get pictures.
More on The Irma here:
We went to look at a house about a month ago in Meeteetse and I snapped these pictures while we were there.
We actually put an offer on that house but when it was all said and done we couldn't come together with the home owner on a price, so it didn't happen.
We THOUGHT we had found a place just outside of Cody very recently and were ecstatic about the prospect.
The home had only been on the market for 14 hours when we saw it, we put in an offer and spent Thanksgiving excited as hell.
The views were amazing, the home owner was desperate to sell, we were eager to buy and offered close to asking price.
A little more investigation and it turned out that there was something very wrong with the home.
Wrong enough that we would not be able to get it financed.
We have looked at homes in the Big Horn Basin and in Park County non stop since we arrived in Cody, have wondered a few times whether or not we should make an offer on one property or another, but Park County is where we want to be (and if possible in Cody).
We are exploring land prices and home building prices and modular home prices and foundation and septic prices and we have been working too hard at this and our heads are spinning and we need a break from thinking so hard about it.
In a few days we'll visit museums decked out for the holidays and drive up to Dead Indian Pass.
We need a break................

My  Mountain Boy watching over me and Kory as we headed down to the Greybull River in downtown Meeteetse.................
I don't  know who painted this, but it sits right at the entrance to the park in downtown Meeteetse and is a colorful addition to the town.................
The reservoir about 8 miles outside of Meeteetse.
Kory needed to run.
This day was still, and cold, and absolutely beautiful, and so we were in no hurry to load back into the vehicle and return to Cody.
We all needed to be outside and spent a long time at this place just enjoying the day, enjoying the views and enjoying each other.................
One of the museums we're headed to this weekend...................
These pictures were also taken about a month ago.
When I look at the pictures in this blog it is hard to remember just how much snow we really had then.
It is also hard to realize that all of this snow has been gone for the past two weeks.
Pictures taken at the Oregon Basin, just on the outskirts of town when we still had a lot of snow on the ground...............
My pup happily running in the deep snow................
Metal sculptures seen in the front yard of a beautiful home, on the drive back into town after playing in the snow out on BLM land..............
And the view from the back yard of that same house................
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went......................Will Rogers

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Can't Stay Away From North Fork - Part 2

We stayed at this place for a long time.
It was a big flock made up mostly of mothers, with yearlings that would have been born last spring..............
For a long time I was so focused on the mothers and their babies that I didn't realize there were actually males in the mix, who were all sitting quietly at the top of the hill.
Large and majestic, and calmly surveying their frozen world.
They were with the flock but separate at the same time.
Sharing the same space, but sitting to themselves while all the females and their young slowly grazed their way across the field.............
10 minutes later we were pulling the Tahoe into a now-closed campground.
From the highway we had excitedly noticed one lone bison crossing over a snow covered trail.
Breaking hard, we pulled into the campground that was located on the left side of the road.
By the time we were driving down the trail the bison was already wandering across an open field, headed for the river.
He walked slowly and methodically, lumbering in that prehistoric and focused way that they have.
He never looked back so I never managed to get a good picture of him..........
Undeterred, I snapped these two quick pictures anyway and LC, Kory and I silently watched him until he disappeared into the brush.........
A few minutes later we pulled off the highway yet again.
Putting the Tahoe into four wheel drive, we headed down a snow covered and narrow road that dead ended at the river within half a mile.
We had caught sight of this guy from the highway.
Watching him for a few minutes we quickly realized that he was intent on eating, and whatever he had found under the snow on the hill had his complete and undivided attention.
We would try and catch him again on the way back towards town.
Time to move on...............
A view of the snow covered road as we headed back towards the highway............
The further into the Shoshone National Forest and the further into the North Fork we traveled, the more animals we began to see.
It wasn't winter yet.
There would be more.  Many more.
But they were definitely beginning to come down out of the mountains with each new snow fall and it was exciting to see them.
These sheep were first seen walking along the side of the road, but as we slowly approached them they veered off the road and into the snow.
One more nursery - all mommas and soon year-old babies...............
Views through the wind shield as we continued further...............
We stopped at Pahaska Teepee which is now closed for the season:

Pahaska (which I started calling Tahitiville as a joke when we first moved back to Wyoming because I could never remember the name) is nothing short of gorgeous.
Located only a few miles from the East Gate of the park it includes cabins (ranging from small A-frames to huge reunion cabins).  There is a beautiful restaurant, a small (and not particularly well stocked) grocery store, and a large (and very well stocked) souvenir shop.
Cabins range in price from moderately expensive to "Not In THIS Life Time" expensive.
We ate at the restaurant on the way to Cody, as we were traveling back to Wyoming in late September.
After spending so much money for over-priced and unappetizing burgers inside the park quite a few hours earlier, I was hungry but had no stomach to pay too much again for food.
When I looked at the menu, one of the cheapest things listed was a small bowl of chili and that is what I ordered.
It cost $6 and the bowl was tiny.
6 spoonfuls worth in fact.
A dollar a spoonful.
But on THIS day the entire joint was shuttered for the winter.
On this day there were no tourists and no overpriced chili.
On this day there was only us and the most beautiful views you could imagine.
It was our turning around point...............
Heading back the way we had come...............
There was very little snow left in Cody proper by the time we had this adventure, but close to the East Gate there was plenty. of snow
The entire drive between Cody and the park gate is stunningly beautiful and hugely interesting, and this is truly a magical place in the winter.................
And yes.
We DID find him again.
By the time we made our way back to the intently grazing lone buffalo, he had stopped eating and instead was simply standing in the middle of the snow covered trail.
What was he doing just standing there?
Just.........digesting his food?
We had no idea.
LC slowly veered around him, turned the Tahoe around at the end of the short trail and headed back up the trail again so that we could try and capture a picture of this big guy straight on.................
He stared at us.
Kory never made a sound.
LC and I whispered, and I lowered my camera so that I could turn it on without disturbing him.
There is no doubt that we were too close, so no sudden movements and no sudden noises was the order of the day.
Before I raised my camera we both agreed that if this monster of an animal made even one movement we would book out of there immediately.
I took a few pictures and then we left, figuring that we had pushed our luck far enough.
This bison, who was not more than 20 feet away from us never moved the entire time we shared the trail with him.................
One last picture as we slowly drove by him.
We were off in the snow banks.  
He had the road..............
We had gone further and seen more.
We had seen so much in one astounding trip, and as we walked together during one last stop at one last snow covered campground, LC and I talked excitedly about the elk and the sheep and the buffalo...............
Keep close to nature's heart, and break clear once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.  Wash your spirit clean..........John Muir