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What to expect if you give birth to a bear

February 26th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

A friend of mine is about two months away from delivering her third child, and as her belly thickens, her patience thins. Her list of complaints is long: she’s sick of being pregnant, her husband doesn’t help enough, her three- and five-year- old kids don’t listen to her, she’s loathes cooking, she’s tired all the time.

“I hear you,” I said sympathetically. “Just two more months to go.”

My friend wanted none of it. “I just wish I’d been born a black bear,” she hissed back. “At least then I could get some sleep.”


Mother bears teach their cubs to forage and survive in the Yellowstone Country wilderness.

I’d been thinking about bears anyway, because early March is when black bears and grizzlies start emerging from their dens in Cody Yellowstone Country. Last year, the first tracks were discovered on Feb. 22 in the northern region of the park, and the first grizzly was spotted on March 15.

Black bears begin emerging from their dens in March, and the first sightings of the year often occur in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone’s wildlife-rich northern region.

But I couldn’t imagine why my friend thought she’d get more sleep as a pregnant black bear. Turns out, she was right. Not only would she get more Read More

There’s Only One Rooster Cogburn

January 29th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I wish I had more time to watch movies, but when you are a hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife watching, skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, cowboy music listening, Western furniture loving fool like me, it’s tough to find the time.

I’m also not picky. I love all of the greats like Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and, of course, Randolph Scott. Sing it like you mean it. RANDOLPH SCOTT.

So when the Academy Awards nominations come out every January I lament that I know about so few of the flicks up for best picture. If I have the time I try to watch some of the nominees, but I’m lucky if I see two or three of them.

Over the years I have developed a little two-part tradition. At some point I will sit down in front of the television and watch True Grit. While I think that the remake from a few years ago starring Jeff Bridges is a fine film, I am one of those purists who think that there is only one Rooster Cogburn.

That’s right, John Wayne will always be my favorite actor, and I can recite lines from McClintock, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Cowboys, The Searchers and even The Sons of Katie Elder.

Read More

Corrie’s Gift Guide for the Cowboys in...

December 18th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

So last week I started my Christmas gift guide by sharing my ideas for the cowgirls in my life.

Was there any doubt what I would be writing about this week?

That’s right, I have put a lot of thought into what I am getting those sometimes-clueless-but-well-intentioned cowboys who make my life interesting. You know, the guys who forget to show up on Friday night as promised and then stop by on their way home to shovel my driveway without asking. The ones who will tease me mercilessly about my cowboy music obsession and then stare down the stranger who makes even one crack about my latest CD purchase. The ones who don’t understand that I already own enough Carhart clothing.

Anyway, here are a few items for them.

For my antsy father who always has to have a project going and seems to have more power tools than the immortal Tim Taylor and Al Borland combined – A set of wave-shaped diamond sharpeners to help him achieve those finishing touches on his western furniture. He may not ever catch up to the professional furniture builders we have scattered throughout town, but he has a great eye and is happiest doing his Thomas Molesworth Read More

Corrie’s Gift Guide for the Cowgirls on...

December 14th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It’s full-throttle panic time here in the Corrie N. Cody household, with chestnuts unroasted, wreaths unhung, Christmas tree unchopped, bows untied, holiday CDs unplayed and a front yard red-nosed reindeer uninflated.

At least I have my gift list completed. I’ve even checked it twice.

Here’s what I have in mind for the many ladies on my list.

For my intrepid but impatient mother – A gift certificate for an all-day fly fishing float trip on the North Fork of the Shoshone River. I chose this trip for Mom because it will satisfy her craving for action with lots of great trout fishing but it also will remind her to enjoy the bounty of eye candy – shores teeming with wildlife and the beauty of northwestern Wyoming’s backcountry all around.

Corrie’s Mom gets a float trip on the North Fork of the Shoshone River, an all-day adventure that combines lots of trout fishing and abundant backcountry beauty. Photo courtesy North Fork Anglers.

For my adventurous but scatterbrained sister – A pack of thermal socks from one of our sporting goods stores – all still in pairs with their sock mates safety pinned together in the hopes that this is the year she manages to make Read More

Don’t Look Now, But it’s December

December 4th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Last winter was the snowiest in Cody/Yellowstone Country in more than 40 years and while it brought many challenges, it was great to get the much needed moisture.

The long-range forecast is saying we can expect more than our average of 43-45 inches of snow because of the warm weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean. I always get El Nina and La Nino mixed up, but I know it’s one or the other. If Dan Miller would write a song explaining the differences, however, I would never be confused again. I wish he would get on it.

Out here we seldom complain about snow. Because our air is so often dry with sporadic rain showers that swoop in quickly and then move one before we know it, we welcome moisture in whatever form shows up. More than 100 years ago our town founder pushed for – and received – federal funds and assistance to construct the Shoshone Dam (later renamed the Buffalo Bill Dam) so that Shoshone River water could be captured and used for irrigation of crops in the region.

There is a saying in the West that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Just slap on Read More

Climb Every…Waterfall?

November 13th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 Everybody knows that Cody/Yellowstone Country is about rodeo (every night in June, July and August), history (Buffalo Bill Cody founded our town, for gosh sakes) and handsome cowboy musicians (you know to whom I refer). It’s the things that catch people by surprise, however, that truly make my day.

Let’s talk about ice climbing.

That’s right, we do not have to go far to find the largest concentration of frozen waterfalls in the continental United States. The region surrounding the South Fork of the Shoshone River holds that distinction.

More than a couple of these bumper stickers have been spotted around town.

Plenty of people here in northwest Wyoming do not even realize just how good our ice climbing is. Sure, they have seen their share of people pulling into town in their Subarus and bumper stickers showing off various national parks and adrenaline-inducing activities. They usually know more about the various frozen ascents than I do.

This brings up some questions.

Why do we have so many frozen waterfalls?

When you think about that giant caldera to the west of us, it starts to make sense. Our region is comprised of porous volcanic soil that allows for easy water seepage. The mountains receive large amounts Read More

Working Off that Extra Halloween Candy

November 6th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Most people know that I am a huge fan of the important national holidays like Christmas, Independence Day, Gene Autry’s birthday and the wedding anniversary of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

My favorite holiday, however, might be Halloween. In fact, I have developed a strategy that helps me unwind as our peak tourist season passes and we welcome cooler temperatures. Instead of a big bag of the usual miniaturized candy bars to pass out, I look for something that makes a statement. This year I found packages of candy shaped like horseshoes, cowboy boots, hats and spurs.

Who wouldn’t want a bag full of this Halloween candy?

Thinking that word would get out that I was passing out the coolest candy ever and that kids from all over town would descend upon my house, I figure I should get a little extra this year. Unfortunately, I seemed to be the only person who appreciates the incredible effort it takes to track down these delicacies on the Internet and have 23 bags shipped to my house.

I miscalculated slightly and ended up with about 19 extra bags. And that’s on top of the chocolate boots I bought and didn’t even intend to give away Read More

The Mystery of Mummy Joe

October 30th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments(1)

Everyone loves a good mystery, especially this time of the year when goblins, zombies and witches wander every American street with abandon. Weirdness is everywhere, and we embrace it, usually with fun-size candy bars and skeletons on our lawns.

That’s what got me to thinking about one of Cody/Yellowstone Country’s very own mysteries, the mummified, cave-dwelling 1,200-year-old remains of a man, who we fondly call “Mummy Joe.” The cave is hidden in plain sight, just a short hike from the highway.

Sixty years ago, Cody resident Gene Smith discovered a cave north of the Shoshone River in Wapiti Valley. Archaeologists later concluded it was not really a cave; it was a massive nearly enclosed overhang of a high volcanic cliff. But why dicker over semantics when there’s a mummy involved?

Mummy Cave is hidden in plain site along Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway in Wapiti Valley.

The discovery was remarkable for many reasons and archaeologists, historians and preservationists studied the remains as well as other materials found in the cave, such as wood, feathers, the remains of bighorn sheep and other large animals, wood and hide.

Bob Edgar was one of the first people to excavate and seriously study Mummy Cave.

Here’s what we know Read More

The Friendly Ghosts of the Irma Hotel

October 24th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

The Irma Hotel is one of the most recognizable buildings on Sheridan Ave., and most tourists and many locals stop at the remarkable 115-year-old hotel to watch the nightly Wild Bunch Gunfighters in the summer, enjoy the hotel’s famous prime rib dinner buffet, admire the room-long Cherrywood bar that was gifted to Buffalo Bill by England’s Queen Victoria and shop in the hotel’s awesome Emporium.

The Irma Hotel is one of Cody’s most recognizable landmarks, and nearly everyone who visits town stops at the historic hotel.

According to some believers, tourists and locals aren’t the only ones observing all the fun at the hotel that Buffalo Bill Cody built and named for his daughter Irma. The Irma Hotel, they say, is home to friendly ghosts, who float through the halls, hang out in a few of the rooms, make mischief in the dining room and – in their best Hogwarts imitation – float in and out of a photograph on the wall of the dining room.

Buffalo Bill Cody built the Irma Hotel and named it for his daughter in 1902.

Let me be clear; I don’t know what to think. While the Practical Corrie is convinced there is always a rational Read More

Home Sweet Crazy Home

October 10th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

In just a few weeks, many people in Cody/Yellowstone Country will become zombified. Even the sweet faces of innocent little children will begin appearing around town with blood dripping from their foreheads as they cling to the guiding hands of grown-ups, attired in bloody, shredded apparel.

Scary, crazy decorations are appearing at homes throughout town.

I love this time of year, and not just the candy and costumes. As adults, teens, kids and infants embrace their First Amendment right to express their inner wacko, Halloween is a reminder that a little quirk can be good for the soul.

Kids and grownups alike embrace their quirky sides as they don costumes for trick-or-treating in downtown Cody.

Perhaps that’s what Lee Smith thought 44 years ago when he began building a multi-story log house in wildlife-rich Wapiti Valley by hand, a process that lasted until he fell to his death from the roof in 1992 at the age of 48. We locals have many names for that lonely, decrepit house – the Smith Mansion and Pagoda House are the kindest references. Some people just call it the Crazy House.

Buffalo Bill, whose entire life was quirky, would have liked the Crazy House.

Anyone who drives Read More