Monday, March 26, 2018

River Walk

The Shoshone River runs along the back side of the city of Cody and there are two pathways that follow the river that are used frequently by locals.
One pathway "feels" more civilized and is used most frequently.
It is located close to large subdivisions, is closer to downtown, and many people frequent the gravel path for exercise, close proximity to nature, and to enjoy the sounds of running water and quacking ducks.
The second pathway "feels" more UNcivilized and yet the trail head is only a mile or so from the first.
It is also located among busy subdivisions.
In fact, to get to the trail head you drive through close-together homes with little pink bicycles dumped unceremoniously in the front yard next to the single tree, by cute little girls.
Just beyond the last house on the road is a fence, with a picture of a black bear and a friendly reminder to be bear aware, and finally there is the trail head.
One moment you are driving by newer homes and the next you are walking a gravel trail and heading into quiet wilderness..............
The top side of Carter Mountain.
A rugged and shockingly huge mountain range located more than 20 miles down the South Fork..............
As we lived in the desert LC and I always aspired to be close to "mountains and the water.
We talked about it often, and it was always about mountains and water.
Now we have both.
Cedar Mountain on the left in the distance (only a few miles away) and Rattlesnake Mountain on the right, with the meandering Shoshone River cutting through the center of the landscape.
The trail begins high above the river, but a quarter of a mile down trail it steeply drops down, and then gradually curves to the right and drops down a second time.
Somewhere just before dropping down to the river the first time is usually where LC and I let Kory off leash to let her run.
At that point she is far enough away from civilization that we don't have to worry about her doubling back and heading for homes or roads.
The remainder of the two mile (or so) trail follows the river............
Puppy trotting down to the river.
Even though we had an easy winter this year, the river is still faster than normal and Kory is not a strong swimmer.
As soon as she reached the Shoshone Kory waded in.
And did just fine..................
In just a few months there will be inflatable rafts filled with tourists on this river.
This early into spring, the water is just fast, cold and empty..............
Proud and happy puppy scratching at the ground after marking her territory.................
Kory shaking off after one more quick trip into the river.
We walked this trail (and I snapped these pictures) just a few days ago.
It was sunny, and temperature gauges that were standing outside banks on the way to the trail head told us that it was 47 degrees (although the wind was blowing and it felt much colder).
I saw something in Kory during this trip that I had never seen before.
She had run ahead of us (as she always does) and LC and I sat on a bench for a few minutes, talking and watching the fast moving river.
After a couple of minutes we stood up, ready to continue further on the trail.
Our dog was running back towards us (as she always does) - but she had lost sight of us.
As I stood up I saw her running in our direction and her face was..........very worried.
She had lost sight of her people and it had scared her.
We've been to this trail a few times but it is still a new place for her.
It was the first time I had ever seen a worried look on Korys' face, and we spent the rest of the trip reassuring our dog that everything was OK...............
Looking back the way we had come.
McCullough Peaks in the background.
The world is beige right now.
But the earliest signs of dusty green are cautiously beginning to make their appearance....................
Yeah Baby Girl.........Momma's still here.................
Climbing back up the hill and heading back towards the trail head after a great walk...................
We walked the trails for an hour and a half - taking the main trail, wandering off on side trails, picking up the main trail again, heading down to the water.
There are chances for snow a few days this week.
But on THIS day it was spring.
And we have spring fever................

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems...............Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, March 23, 2018

Still A Happy Puppy

These pictures were taken sometime in mid-February and Cody WY looks now, nothing like it did only a month ago.
A few days ago I went back and skimmed through some of the pictures I had taken last winter while still living in Idaho.
We had SO much snow last winter.
This winter was nothing like the last.
This year we had frequent snowfalls that dropped two, three, sometimes as much as six inches or more.
The world around us looked like a beautiful post card for a short while and then the snow all melted.
Rinse and repeat over and over throughout the past five or six months.
It's gone again.
All of it and although there is always a chance for more snow over the next few months, we have been enjoying temperatures in the 50s for the past week.
Everyone has spring fever.
Everyone including us.
The above picture is a look back at the Tahoe as we begin to climb a trail, with a snow covered Heart Mountain in the background...............
These pictures were all taken while the world was still white, and at places that are close to town where all three of us love to wander.
They are places where Kory can run free and where LC and I can hike and enjoy the freedom we feel since moving to Cody.
 Four miles from the center of town (heading out the Greybull Highway) is a turnoff that leads to rutted out dirt trails and eventually a series of quiet hills.
Hills filled with interesting rock formations, endless pine trees and views of all the surrounding mountain ranges.
Hike the trails to the peaks of these hills and you are rewarded with views of the wide open Oregon Basin that is located on the back side.
Kory and I have wandered this place often, enjoying the freedom and enjoying the rhythm that we have established between us over all these years.
The rhythm of traveling together, exploring together, wandering in different directions but reconnecting often on the trail.
She loves it.  
And so do I.
And we love it together.
For a long time in Atomic City we wandered without LC, but he has been joining us more and more often since we moved back to Wyoming.
The exploring duo is now occasionally an exploring trio.
And that's OK.
Actually, it's more than OK................
Cody is a tri-level city.
"Downtown" is on the center level.
"Up the hill" contains the arena, aquatics center, recreation center, post office, library, Beck Lake, air port, memorial park, golf course, multiple stores and restaurants, and multiple old and new subdivisions.
At the end of a very ritzy subdivision you cross over a cattle guard and immediately find yourself at Red Lake.
Red Lake is an old dry river bed that is surrounded by open, hilly, mountainous land.
Some of it is public lands.
Some of it is a huge expanse of private land and the owner has granted permission to the residents of Cody to use and enjoy it for recreation.
In effect, once you pass by the last mansion and cross over the cattle guard, you have access to tens of thousands of acres of public land.
In the winter LC, Kory and I were the only people who wandered through the snow.
Now that Cody is slowly beginning to move out of hibernation we are learning that it is also a popular location for four wheelers, dirt bikers, horse back riders, and other dog walkers.
We were spoiled.
All winter we had this place to ourselves, but we are now begrudgingly beginning to relinquish our monopoly on the place................
The vast emptiness and sheer beauty of our new home has been cathartic for both LC and I over the past months, during a time in which we have experienced so much change.
After we sold our home in Idaho we spent a few days in a motel in Rexburg before heading over to Wyoming.
Then we spent over a week camping on BLM land, another week and a half in a motel in Meeteetse, four months in a cottage in downtown Cody and then finally a move into the house we are currently renting.
It has been a time of constant change and quiet turmoil, and at first we were both worried how all of those changes would effect our dog.
We understood what was happening in our lives and why.  
But Kory did not.
As long as Kory had known us we had lived in the same house in Idaho.
She had played in the same back yard.
Walked the same neighborhool.
Driven on the same dirt trails and explored in the same BLM hills.
For everything she has been through in her life (some of which we know about and some of which we have no idea) Kory is an amazingly well adjusted dog.
Consistent love and attention from us, consistent walking together and consistently allowing her to run in safe places out on BLM land, and she has come through this entire adventure apparently unscathed.
Still the happy, adventurous, loving puppy we have always known.
Endless mountain views taken while wandering with Kory at Red Lake............
Kory running to catch up with us..............
Heading back towards town after a long, cold walk.
The ever-present Heart Mountain in the background.
The first homes are located just beyond the trees..............

Dogs, on the other hand... dogs have pure souls. Look at me." I grab her chin and look straight into her eyes. "Dogs are always good and full of selfless love. They are undiluted vessels of joy who never, ever deserve anything bad that happens to them. Especially you. Since the day I met you, you have done nothing but make my life better in every possible way. Do you understand?..............Steven Rowley