Saturday, June 23, 2018

Trip To The South Fork

I think we've got it.
We are supposed to sign on our home next Friday.
It is located 2.5 miles from this lake.
On a very cool and damp Sunday last weekend LC, Kory and I visited the south end of Buffalo Bill Reservoir.
Down the South Fork.
2.5 miles from the home we will be buying.
We have visited the reservoir many times together and over the past couple of months I have kayaked a number of times here.
On this day it was cold, damp, still, silently beautiful.
The way the clouds sat, nestled just above and just around the surrounding mountains, the place suddenly and unexpectedly reminded me of Juneau.............
We have had two weeks now of temperatures in the 60s and low 70s.
More surprisingly, we have had a whole lot of rain.
More rain than I ever remember seeing in Cody.
Everything is endlessly green and lush, and that also is not something I am used to seeing in Cody.
The world looks beautiful.
As we all three walked on the dike that carved the lake into two (more-or-less) equal pieces, LC and I watched our happy puppy and talked about the house.
It is a good price for Cody but a little daunting to fully wrap our heads around.
We'll do it.
It was the choice we made.
We wanted to be here and we have to live somewhere, and this is a good home at a good price in a good place.
We are excited.
This is a great place for Kory to run.
The dike is 20 feet wide or so, with water on both sides.
There's nothing she can get into trouble with here, she has access to water when it is very hot and dry, and we can wander a long way...................
Running to us when we called her back.................
After a short walk along the dike we returned to the vehicle and headed further down the road, following the path around the lake.
On the spur of the moment we decided to drive some of Stagecoach Trail - a dirt road that we had not explored since the last time we were in Cody.
The paved road would soon turn to dirt, and with all the rain we had, we had no idea how muddy or rutted out the trail would be.
But eager to explore, we decided to give it a shot anyway..................
The very full and very fast slowing Shoshone River.
The boiling river has caused some problems in the past week.
A commercial raft missed its take-out, many of the raft occupants succeeded in making a jump for land.
Three did not.
An hour later two were pulled from the river by local citizens, and the third was rescued by the local Search And Rescue after leaving the raft and hanging on to a tree in the middle of the fast flowing river.
Yesterday a drunk inadvertently drove his truck off a cliff.
The truck landed nose first in the river.
It floated down stream for about half a mile, but when it began to sink the drunk bailed out of the truck.
SAR rescued him soon after, the cops charged the guy with DUI, and the truck will remain stranded in the river until water levels drop and it is safe to pull the truck out of the water....................
Reminds me SO much of Alaska.................
As we traveled the back half of the lake we eventually ended on Stagecoach Trail - a dirt road surrounded by grassy fields, grass filled hills, and tree filled mountains.
It is an isolated area free of homes.
Simply beautiful and empty land.
As we temporarily traveled away from the lake we came across this beautiful pair.
A mother antelope and her week old offspring.
When we first caught sight of her this mother had been standing in a field to our right.
We stopped the Suburban in the middle of the dirt trail to watch her, but it quickly became obvious that she was upset and distracted.
On an early summer day like this - in an isolated and mountainous place like this - our first thought is always bear (as in grizzly bear).
But that wasn't it at all.
After pacing back and forth for a few minutes she eventually ran across the road in front of us, and a minute later we understood why she had been so upset.
I don't know why she had separated from her baby, but I was glad to see them both reunited with each other...................
A few miles further down the increasingly muddy road and we were greeted by a small herd of grazing cattle, along with this big guy..............
The road conditions (mud and rutted out tracks) made for slow going, but the scenery was stunningly beautiful and we were in no hurry.
Aside from antelope and cattle we did not see another living soul for the two hours we traveled this road..................
LC and I have taken to calling our Suburban "The Beast"
It is rugged and tough, and so ugly it's beautiful.
Over the few years we have had it, it has become our BLM and off-road vehicle.
At one point we thought that LCs brother would buy it, but he didn't and I'm glad he didn't.
And after that cluster of an encounter we decided that we will not part with it.
We like it too much and it is too bomb-proof to sell.
But it needs new tires and those are coming soon.................
The last of the reservoir as it begins to feed into the river..................
Instead of picking up the highway as I expected we would, LC picked up a continuation of Stagecoach and we drove a little further, knowing that only a few miles further we would again reach the two lane highway of the North Fork.
We could drive home through Wapiti.
More views of the Shoshone River from the North Fork end...............
By the time we crossed over the river and picked up the two lane highway that would circle us back to Cody, LC and I were thirsty and a little hungry.
As we drove by the Wapiti Lodge I read the OPEN sign.
It was open and had drinks, beer, snacks, bait.
We didn't need beer or bait but could do with a little of the other two, and on the spur of the moment LC pulled a quick U-turn.
He still does them like a cop.
Quickly, easily, efficiently, as though it were second nature.
Which it was.
Which it is.
Leaving Kory in the Suburban, we headed inside in search of sustenance............
It was everything we thought it would be.
Log.  Stone.  Wood.  Old photographs.  Old paintings. Old furniture.
Nice but not high dollar nice, like so many other lodges were that sat closer to the East Gate of Yellowstone.
It was still early in the summer so the lodge was quiet.
I hoped that business picked up for them as the summer progressed...........
By the time we had wandered around parts of the lodge, talked with the owners, picked up drinks and chocolate bars and headed back outside, we were both ready to head towards home.
We were in Wapiti, alongside the North Fork of the Shoshone River.
The drive home would take us past the north end of the reservoir.
Beyond hugely expensive homes without water, that were high in the hills and mountains.
Beyond hugely expensive and expansive ranches in the lower lands.
It had been a good trip.
We have had offers accepted, bank loans financed, inspections passed, appraisals passed, signatures and offers and counter offers and addendums finalized.
It's never a done deal until it's a done deal.
But if all goes well we should be signing off on a home out the South Fork this time next week..................

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cody Public Library - A Short Walk

On one more very hot and dry day we all three spent a short while walking the perimeter of the Cody Public Library.
I know that doesn't sound extremely exciting.
This is Cody, WY after all.
The home of Wild Bill Cody.
Home of cowboys and buffalo and rugged mountains.
The Gateway to Yellowstone National Park.
So OK............walking around the library wasn't any kind of epic adventure, but it was stinking lousy hot on this day and both LC and I knew that the unyielding heat would quickly drain all three of us.
Including our dog, who also has little energy when it is this hot.
The Cody Library is artistically laid out and well stocked inside, and the grounds surrounding the library are very beautiful.
Man-made ponds in front and in back (along with man-made streams that continually feed water into both) surround the entire facility.
On the grounds there are also picnic tables, trees, walking paths, a bridge leading from the parking lot to the library building, and multiple green spaces.
It is not a long walk, but it is beautiful.
One of my favorite places in town............
Kory and I know this place really well.
We walked here multiple times over the winter when the world felt slow moving and empty, and when the town was completely silent.
From downtown (where we stayed at an off-season rental cottage through much of the winter) we would walk a few blocks and enter the downtown trail system called Canal Trail (which mirrors the path of the old canal system that was installed during the earliest days of the city).
Canal Trail climbs from the downtown level to the upper level of the city that is known locally as "up on the hill".
Once we reached the top of the hill we would pass by a beautiful overlook that surveyed all the area mountain ranges (and which included benches, flowers, information boards about each of the viewable mountain ranges).
And from that point we would in sequence by-pass the arena, the aquatics center, the recreation center and then the library.
During the winter the ponds are drained, and this would be the first time we had walked the perimeter since the ponds and streams had been filled again with water.....................
Bridge spanning the pond (from parking lot to building)................
It is easy to forget that this place is right in town.
It is amazingly beautiful.
There are homes right across the road from this place.
It is adjacent to all three major recreation facilities in back and the post office to the left.
To the right of these grounds is a large apartment complex.
A few blocks further down the street is a major commercial area - Albertsons grocery store, a Verizon store, a couple of fast food restaurants, a liquor store, a number of other retail establishments large and small.
It is not a quiet area.
Homes, apartments, shops, recreation facilities, the post office.  
A booming area.
But this place.........THIS quiet and serene.
We followed the water around one side of the building.
Enjoying the beauty of this urban green space................
An unexpected and colorful addition to the grounds with this painted rock..................
My store closes at 5pm each day and Kory in the past couple of months has developed a routine.
I get home, she hysterically barks with glee to see me, I pet her briefly and then we all load into one of the vehicles so we can..........go something.
Often that means a trip up to Oregon Basin so she can run and we can walk.
Sometimes it is to Beck Lake.
The other night (on one more ridiculously energy-sucking hot day) she and I walked around the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (taking pictures of beautiful green spaces and metal statues, and smiling at abundant tourists).
Every day is different.
Summer is so short that we want to make the most of it (and that includes every-day small adventures such as these)...................
One of my favorite pictures from this small adventure.
Heart Mountain looks beautiful any time of day and any time of year, but with all the rain we have had so far this spring and summer the entire world is unbelievably green................
 It wasn't a long walk but it was a good walk.
Once we had circled the grounds of the library we were ready to go home.
A beautiful early evening but still far too hot.
By the time we had loaded Kory into the back of the Tahoe and then climbed in ourselves,  we had decided that it was time to go through the drive-through at Dairy Queen on the way home.
LC wanted a vanilla milkshake.
I wanted some kind of ice-cream thing that included as much chocolate as they could fit into a small cup...................

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.................Gertrude Jekyll