Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Winter Lasts Forever

Going to keep this very short as we are busy right now getting ready to move from our off-season rental cottage into a small two bedroom house we have found in Cody to rent.
These pictures were all taken at McCullough Peaks on one more search for the herds of wild horses that call this empty and silent place home.
The wild mustangs have been surprisingly elusive recently, and again on this trip we came home almost empty handed.
Except for these two stallions that are now traveling together separate and apart from the rest of the herd (likely after having lost the battle for male dominance).
Beaten by younger and stronger, and then banished.
We have found these two a couple of times recently, but with constantly melting snow (and regular muddy conditions) we dare not travel too far off the main gravel roads.
The side trails (that venture in all directions) will have to wait until late spring, when the ground is finally stable and hard again.
After it became obvious that we were not going to find the horses on this trip, we mentally changed gears.
This trip simply became an opportunity to wander quietly together, while also giving our adventurous dog a place to roam and run with abandon...............
When I look at these pictures I realize just how easy it is to find the quiet and isolation that I crave so regularly.
To some these pictures must look bleak - vast emptiness on a cold and overcast winter day.
I find that vast emptiness comforting.
We can find civilized whenever we need it.  
Stores and museums and special events and people.
But this.........THIS...........is everywhere whenever we need it as well..............

Slush is frozen over. People say that winter lasts forever, but it's because they obsess over the thermometer. North in the mountains, the maple syrup is trickling. Brave geese punch through the thin ice left on the lake. Underground, pale seeds roll over in their sleep. Starting to get restless. Starting to dream green..........Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Beck Lake Park

All pictures taken a week ago.
Beck Lake Park is a wonderful outdoor recreation space that is found inside the city limits, making it easy for locals to enjoy nature without having to travel.
It contains two large reservoirs, biking and walking trails, a dog park and so many other resources.
More on the park here:
On this day temperatures were mild, the lakes were frozen, and LC, Kory and I walked the perimeter of one of the lakes.
It was a Sunday morning and the mild temperatures and watery sunshine of a winter day brought many people out to enjoy the day.
A couple of families were ice fishing.
A few people were bicycle on paved trails.
And many people were happily walking their happy dogs.
Everyone greeted us as we passed them by, smiling, greeting and petting Kory, wishing us a nice day, and we did the same in return.
It was all very nice and friendly and civilized, and even now (four months after having left Idaho) we still cannot believe just how friendly and welcoming people are in Cody.
Looking back towards Cedar Mountain on the left and Rattlesnake Mountain on the right.
Through the canyon between those two mountains is Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wapiti, the Northfork, and eventually the East Gate of the park.............
In the spring and summer locals fish on these small lakes.
There is a mountain bike obstacle course that is new since we were last in Cody.
On the paths that circumnavigate half of the lower lake there are permanent signs providing information on bird and wild life that is commonly seen in the area (including warnings about rattlesnakes).
On this day we were walking the entire perimeter of the upper lake, and both LC and I let Kory take the lead.
Our pup taking the lead meant that we were in constant stop and start mode, as she inquisitively investigated interesting rocks and sage bushes along the route.
And that was fine.
We were in no rush...............
Heart Mountain dominates the landscape.
Kory wearing her new harness.
Sometimes I even remember to put it on her before leaving the house................
Curious puppy-on-ice checking out our curious puppy-on-trail..............
View from one of the fishing piers.................
In past years I had walked around these lakes in all other seasons.
This place is beautiful (for different reasons) in all seasons.
Even the season of winter when snow is gone, the days are short and the world is brown.
As we walked around one bend in the trail I looked over at a bench that was installed on one more fishing pier.
I had sat on the concrete bench for a short while one day years ago and looked over the lake, while rubbing the ears of my dog who sat by my feet.
Her name was Jamie and I had known her since she was five months old.
She had mysteriously shown up on my doorstep in the country long before I had even met LC.
She had refused to leave the back yard and eventually my boys persuaded me to keep her at a time when I had no interest in bringing a second dog into our home.
I loved that dog then, just as I love Kory now................

At my place I can really tell when winter has come.. It's when sunlight is pathetically crawling in my courtyard, incapable of reaching my window anymore..........Boulet

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Walking In Winter Sun

Taken during a time seemingly weeks ago now, when we still had snow.
This time last year we were in Idaho and had six foot snow drifts in our back yard.
We had so much snow that ploughs were struggling to find places to put it all..........

These were all taken during a quiet walk on a beautiful winter day.
Walking the Canal Trail.
The Canal trail head is located on a residential street between two beautiful and historic homes in downtown Cody, close to where we are currently staying.
The trail follows the original route of the irrigation canal that ran through Cody when it was first established in the late 1800s.
The trail is not long, but it is beautiful and very quiet.
It meanders through the back side of residential neighborhoods and deer are regular visitors along the trails.
The trail system gradually climbs and then ends at the 4-Plex (where the arena, the recreation center, the aquatics center and library all meet on one vast and expansive green space).
My dog patiently waiting for me to snap a picture and looking back towards the entrance to the trail................
One of a couple of handfuls of information boards that can be found on the trail, all of which provide interesting info on the history of Cody and the canal system..............
On this day I let Kory take the lead, and we found ourselves weaving off the trail, walking up the sidewalk towards the 4-Plex, and then picking up another trail.
Looking down the hill towards town................
Looking up the hill towards the rec center..............
Walking towards the library and looking over towards the rec center..............
A pine-tree-lined paved trail that leads towards the library............
The bridge crossing over the now-empty pond that surrounds the library...........
I have talked about it before but the water-ways that surround the library like a moat are really beautiful.
There is a large still pond in front of the library, another large still pond in back, and small man-made canals of fast moving water that flow between the two.
The ponds are drained at this time of year, but still look beautiful when they are covered with snow.
In summer the trees and flowers bloom, the green spaces are expansive, and the water is beautiful.
One of my favorite in-town locations to walk with Kory at every time of year..............
The same bridge - leading from the parking lot to the library building............
This day was a perfect winter day.
Just below freezing.
Endless winter sunshine.
We had been walking for just over an hour by this time and had circled all the way around the expansive complex.
Before heading back down the trails Kory and I stopped on our high perch, to look down over the small city of Cody, WY...............
If you seek creative ideas go walking.
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for
a walk..........Raymond I. Myers