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Fall In Yellowstone Country

August 27th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

There are several ways to tell that summer is winding down here in Cody. The main thing is the rhythm. The vehicles pulling into, out of and through town are less dense with not as many rental RVs going past.

There are fewer families as kids are heading back to school. Up the Wapiti Valley those of us lucky enough to spot bears – from a safe distance, of course – see that they are getting a little chunky as they eat as much as possible in preparation for winter hibernation.

The bull elk start bugling and sparring as they try to impress the females for rutting season. That would not do much for me as I prefer cowboy love ballads over violent displays.

The air starts to turn a little cooler.  As I pull jeans and sweaters out of the closet, I start thinking about my favorite fall things to do.

Here are just a few:

One of our most prestigious events of the year, Rendezvous Royale is staged the third week of September. The event includes the nationally known Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale with Western-themed art, a quick-draw event, auction, Western Read More


Fires Are Natural

August 20th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

It’s August, and that means there are fires in the West.

Pardon me if that sounds somewhat nonchalant, but we have learned so much about fire ecology, especially with the 1988 Yellowstone fires being discussed. It’s hard to believe it has been 25 years since 793,000 acres burned inside the park. I won’t say what I was doing then, but I was barely out of diapers.

Now that I have graduated to big girl pants, I know that fire is a natural part of a larger cycle and is actually necessary for a healthy forest to exist.

Let’s back up a few decades. For many years, the idea was that all fires were to be prevented or extinguished as quickly as possible. Remember Smokey Bear who used to say “Only YOU can prevent forest fires?”

The result was that tremendous resources went into putting out the fires as quickly and efficiently as possible. The unintended consequence of this policy was that the forests were getting older and the amount of fuel was increasing.

When that long, hot summer of 1988 arrived there was plenty of fuel in and around the park. The fires that started were the result Read More


Buffalo Bill Photos

July 30th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

If you have ever been to my house, you know that I do a decent job of keeping it clean and free of clutter. I am certainly not a neat freak, but I just don’t like it when there is too much stuff lying around.

My drawers and closets are a different matter. Some of them are nice and neat while others are packed tightly with things I have collected over the years. I absolutely had to have the microwave bacon tray. You know the one that holds up to 14 slices and keeps them separate so they don’t stick together. Same with the perfect meatloaf pan that practically makes dinner without my help.

My walls are a combination of family photos, pieces of art I picked along the way at summer art shows and various knick knacks that caught my fancy.

My prized possessions are a couple of vintage posters from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Many of us locals have mementos that have been passed down through the generations. I know one guy who has a pair of moccasins that belonged to Sitting Bull.

In addition to my posters, I have a box in Read More


Full Family Season Is Upon Us

July 9th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

The 2013 Cody Stampede is now a fond memory. I should have kept some sort of journal of how many old friends I saw and new ones I made – hmm, maybe I could invent some sort of electronic contraption that will allow me to take photos, record addresses and phone numbers, organize these friends into one big group and then tell everyone details of my life such as what I am having for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But I digress. With the Stampede complete, we are in full summer season, and that means family time. I understand that many people like to travel during what is called the “shoulder seasons” when the weather is nice and the atmosphere a little more relaxed, but as long as kids are in school from early September through early June, families will make the Great American Road Trip in the summer.

Personally, I love it. With the obvious exception of Sleeping Giant ski area, all of our activities and attractions are going full force and you can feel the energy on our streets.

While many of the visitors stop in Cody for one night on their way to or from Yellowstone Park, Read More


Buffalo Bill Presents Our Flag To The Queen

July 2nd, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

With July 4th almost here, I think about what our flag means to me as a symbol of freedom and the joining of the many diverse regions of our country into a single entity that is so much stronger than our individual parts.

I also think about how that flag and our very own Buffalo Bill Cody were instrumental in solidifying our relationship with England.

Many people know that Buffalo Bill was the most famous person in the world at one time. His Wild West Show was incredibly popular as it toured the U.S. and later went international. In 1887, Bill took his show to Europe where it was a smash success seen by more than one million people.

Among those attending the show was the very proper Queen Victoria. Many of the English people were more than a little surprised that the queen chose to attend the show, and this step only served to increase interest. What happened at the show is even better.

At the beginning of each show, Buffalo Bill entered with the American flag. On this day he rode into the arena and over to the queen to present himself and the Read More


When I Have Company

June 18th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

Few things in life are certain, but I can practically guarantee this: If you live in Cody/Yellowstone Country you will have company at some point, most likely in the summer. And if your friends and relatives are anything like mine, they are curious about what makes the town and surrounding area tick.

I have developed a surefire way to answer most of the questions these folks have and to make their visit so much better by helping them understand what they are seeing.

Here’s my three-step process.

1.  I take my guests over to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and we make a hard left straight to the Draper Natural History Museum. We walk over to the edge of the top level and look down at a big tile floor map of the region. By starting big, we get our bearings and see where Cody, Park County, the Park and the whole Yellowstone ecosystem fit together.

We then head down the ramps and begin to learn about some more specific topics like the area’s wildlife, how forest fires are actually good for the Read More


Cody Western Furniture

June 11th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

It’s going to be a big week for me in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country with some serious decision-making going on.

That’s because I am going shopping for furniture, and I am not talking about your basic sofas, loveseats, chairs, ottomans and recliners.

No, I like to buy my furniture one or two pieces at a time from one of many fine artists in town. You probably didn’t know that our little town has attracted some of the finest builders and designers of Western furniture and accessories.

This is not something that happened overnight, and we can trace Cody’s roots as a center for Western furniture back to the 1930s to our most famous designer and builder – Thomas Molesworth, owner of the Shoshone Furniture Company. Molesworth combined the basic furniture designs that local cowboys used in ranch houses throughout the area with elements such as leather, horsehide, elk antlers, Native American weavings, brass tacks and more.

After building furniture for us locals, Molesworth’s work became known by Easterners, many of whom traveled to Western dude ranches and Yellowstone National Park. He subsequently received commissions to design and build tables, chairs, couches and other furniture for homes across Read More


My First Trip Of The Year Into “The...

June 4th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

I had the best weekend! The first trip to the park every spring is always special, but this year’s venture had the extra bonus of knowing that so many citizens of Cody banded together to help make the east entrance snow plowing happen on time.  

I am so proud of my peeps and the way they refused to let politics, budget cuts and a little snow get in the way of their livelihoods.

Anyway, I headed due west to the park – we locals usually refer to Yellowstone as “the park” – early Saturday morning. With the sun at my back the light was perfect, and I stopped several times along the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway to shoot some photos of the rock formations. While there are plenty of “Castle Rocks” and “Chimney Rocks” wherever you go, we have formations called “Old Woman and Her Cabin,” “Snoopy the Dog” and “Chinese Wall.” My favorite is “Laughing Pig Rock.”

As I departed the Wapiti Valley I waved to Buffalo Bill’s original hunting lodge – Pahaska Tepee – and headed up Sylvan Pass. Since I was in no hurry, I stopped at a pull out and looked over the edge Read More


Memorial Day

May 28th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

Ask anyone in Buffalo Bill’s Yellowstone Country who watches the sun, moon and stars when summer starts and they will tell you June 21.

The rest of us know better. Summer starts Memorial Day Weekend.

For me that means an extra morning to sleep in, at least two barbecues and some long walks that start out short but expand because I keep running into friends who are eager to catch up.

There is one thing, however, that I always make sure I do and one that serves to remind me to never take for granted the beauty that surrounds me and the freedom I enjoy in my little corner of paradise.

About halfway between town and the airport – 2519 26th Street to be exact – is the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park

Currently this park features monuments and memorials to our state’s military people killed during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War. The process is also under way to dedicate the Freedom Memorial to honor those killed during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the Iraq Wars, the Cold War, other engagements and in peace time.

This Memorial Day I spent an hour on the walking path Read More


The History of Dude Ranches

April 24th, 2013 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 

The things that happen in the back yard of Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country that you didn’t even know are astounding.

 The other day I came across a book called Dude Ranching, a Complete History by Lawrence R. Borne. While I have not received the book yet (an online company named after either a South American river or a society of strong women is supposed to send it my way), I did learn a few things.

 The term “dude” did not come from California to describe surfers. Rather, it was coined back in the 1870s by rangers from our own Yellowstone National Park to describe any visitor from the East. Over the course of the next few decades that term was applied specifically to people who hired guides in the West.

 Most of these guests came to hunt and to live the life of a Westerner, even if it only was for a few weeks at a time. They typically camped at night by a fire or pitched tents on the range.

 Not all of the dudes roughed it, however. Many of us here have heard the story of the time Buffalo Bill Cody guided a group Read More