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Winter is Coming. Let’s Layer Up and Go...

September 25th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 Last week the National Park Service briefly closed some park roads due to snowy conditions. That same day, I dug my ice scraper out of the back of my Subaru so I could clear my windshield of early-morning frost. And then I went fishing.

In some parts of the country, the months of September and October are a reliable extension of summer, with warm temperatures, sunshine and a continuation of summer adventures. And to a certain degree that’s also true here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.

Most days during the fall months are mild and pleasant. We usually see some snow, but it typically doesn’t hang around too long. There are still plenty of days left for outdoor adventures like fishing, golfing and hiking. As long as you wear the right stuff.

Golfers like to get in a few more rounds before packing away their clubs for winter. The Olive Glen Golf Course is located right in town.

There’s an old Norwegian saying: “there’s no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing.” Anyone who lives in Yellowstone Country knows this is true. This time of year, we keep those base layers, wool socks and water-resistant pants handy. But we also keep much Read More

An Elk Encounter in Yellowstone Country

September 19th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments(1)

I heard my first bugle yesterday.

As I sometimes do when I can’t sleep, I took an early-morning drive to Buffalo Bill State Park just west of town and sat at a picnic table near the parking lot to await the sunrise. Watching Yellowstone Country awaken somehow energizes me, and when I see the sun rise above the water I know that my day is off to a great start.

Except for the occasional car or truck heading west towards Yellowstone on the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, I was alone with my latte. I could see slight ripples in the water and hear a light wind rustling the sagebrush. The quiet sounds of an autumn morning in Yellowstone Country were breached – quite jarringly – by a male elk. I didn’t see him in the dawn light at first. But I certainly heard him.

As Corrie discovered, elk are often most active at dawn and dusk.

His bugle started as sort of a low-octave whistle, but it quickly escalated to a high-pitched squeal. It is a sound that is wild, grating and not particularly pleasant, particularly when you’re still on your first coffee of the day. It’s not meant to be a pleasant Read More

The Bear Necessities

September 11th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

While people in various parts of the country are celebrating kids returning to school and football season getting underway, I am eagerly anticipating my own Wyoming tradition.

Watching bears getting ready to hibernate.

During the fall, bears and nuts go together like gardeners and zucchini. It is the time to gorge, and you can never have too much. One significant difference: gardeners are likely to share their zucchini, but I wouldn’t recommend asking bears to share their nuts. Unless you’re nuts.

Grizzlies and black bears in Yellowstone Country are busy gathering and gorging on the abundant berries and pine nuts in the region’s dense forests to fatten up before spending the winter months in a quasi-dream state in their cozy dens while living off the fat they built up during the summer and fall months. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? This stage where they eat everything in sight is called hyperphagia, and bears can gain up to four pounds in a single day. For some perspective, just think of a teenage boy going through a growth spurt.

Getting ready to den takes planning and preparation, and much like the human species, some bears begin working on their winter homes months in advance, while others wait Read More

The Lessons of Heart Mountain

September 5th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

If you have a chance, I highly recommend tracking down a Today Show segment by Tom Brokaw about the Heart Mountain World War II Interpretive Center and the relationship between former congressman and cabinet member Norman Mineta and our own Alan Simpson, former U.S. Senator.

Please allow me to summarize.

This year we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, signed Feb. 19, 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This order resulted in more than 100,000 citizens of Japanese heritage being incarcerated in various prison camps throughout the West.

Located 14 miles northeast of Cody, Heart Mountain was home to some 14,000 people between August 1942 and November 1945.

Arriving primarily from California and Washington, these incarcerated Americans were clustered in small, rapidly built quarters after being forced from their homes. As a result, they lost their homes, jobs, businesses and most of their possessions. They came with only what they could carry, and they had no idea how long they would be confined. They lived their lives, created a community, established life-long friendships, and more than 800 of them joined the military and fought for the country that had stripped them of their freedom.

Among those citizens at Heart Mountain was a Read More

Packing Your Patience

August 28th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

You might have heard there was a total solar eclipse the other day.

We here in Wyoming were fortunate to have a huge portion of our state smack dab in the middle of this event, and believe me, it did not disappoint. If I had my way, we would do this every day in the summer. Sort of like our Cody Nite Rodeo which operates from June 1 through August 31.

Wyoming was well-positioned for the eclipse.

Here in Cody we “only” had 98 percent obscuration, and the show was incredible. As much as I enjoyed watching the moon pass in front of the sun – using my approved glasses which I picked up at our visitor center – what really got to me was the number of people who just stopped what they were doing to walk outside and enjoy this experience. Locals and tourists chatting each other up is nothing out of the ordinary, but there were so many of us that I will be shocked if I ever see many people in our town shaking hands and putting aside their cares at the same time.

My friends inside Yellowstone National Park tell me they saw similar scenes with bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go Read More

Nature-lovers, let’s learn a new word: yugen

August 22nd, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I was pleased to see a recent Expedia story that indicated Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is the best place in the great state of Wyoming for a nature-lovers. The article cited Yellowstone Country’s “horse trails, camping, biking and rock climbing” that are within easy reach of Cody as well nearby Yellowstone, “bursting with natural wonders, from Old Faithful geyser to Yellowstone Lake.”

If you live in Cody or have visited for even a few days, you know this. If you visit the Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin late on a winter night when there is no one else there except for a lumbering bison illuminated by stars and crunching through the crusty snow in the woods, you know this.

Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country was named the best spot in Wyoming for nature-lovers.

If you join a small-group trail ride along the North Fork of the Shoshone River and spot a moose and calf in the brush on the south side of the riverbank, you know this.

Watching a moose and calf wander through the willow flats is a moment of yugen for Corrie

You also know this if you and your friends backpack to a special spot on the South Fork of the Shoshone Read More

The Grownup Pleasures of Yellowstone...

August 14th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

Before you accuse me of not loving kids, I will state for the record that I adore seeing kids in Yellowstone Country. Every time I see school-age kids roaming the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, I am reminded of a child’s pure curiosity. Whenever I watch kids try to catch the calf at the Cody Nite Rodeo, I am invigorated by their enthusiasm. But sometimes, I just want to have a quiet cocktail in the company of other adults.

That’s why I’m ready for “Secret Season” in Yellowstone Country.

During this period, the make-up of visitors to Cody changes. Half-way through the month of August, we notice fewer families departing Cowtown Candy Company with bags of fudge and caramel corn. And there are noticeably fewer kids participating in the Calf Scramble at the Cody Nite Rodeo. By the end of August, families have largely disappeared, no doubt with their attention once again on school supplies, summer reading lists and the beginning of soccer practice.

The Secret Season is not only transformative because there are fewer kids and more adults, particularly adults of empty nesting age. Some mornings, there’s a slight chill in the air. Our wildlife seems to be a little restless. Read More

Sam Shepard, One of Cody’s Own

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

The first time I went to see the movie The Right Stuff I only went because my friends roped me into it.

“Have you ever known me to be interested in astronauts?” I asked in my most emphatic voice.

“No,” was the response. “But we think you will like this film and we’ll pay for your ticket if you aren’t satisfied after the first half hour or so.”

The movie started out fine with some terrific acting and directing, but I certainly wasn’t thinking this was how I wanted to spend three hours. Since it was February, I was imaging myself cross country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling or fly fishing.

Then about 20 minutes in Sam Shepard and Barbara Hershey, playing the parts of Chuck and Glennis Yeager, decided to go horseback riding, and I was hooked.

Sam Shepard and Barbara Hershey as Chuck and Glennis Yeager in The Right Stuff.

While my friends were trying not to laugh at me, I was on the edge of my seat as the couple took off into the high desert after leaving the bar where the test pilots spent their evenings. And when Sam – we were on a first-name basis by then – hit a Joshua Read More

Where to View the Total Solar Eclipse in...

August 1st, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Where will you be at 10:19 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21? That’s the day of the total solar eclipse, and unless you’ve been living in a cave you probably know that the state of Wyoming is in the viewing hot spot, since the eclipse’s path of totality passes through the state’s central region.

Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is north of that path, but my hometown of Cody is still a great place to see this rare event, with only 98.05 percent obscuration. In other words, Cody will be a pretty darn good place to see this rare astral event.

Wyoming is in the path of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. Although Cody is just a little north of the path of totality, there will still be spectacular viewing opportunities.

I am planning to ditch work that day and watch the event with a group of friends. When we stopped by to purchase our special eclipse glasses from the Cody Visitor Center, we asked the knowledgeable folks there for some ideas on where in Cody to go for the best viewing. They gave us a bunch of ideas, and we’re continuing to mull our options.

One place we’re considering is Beck Read More

Making Time for Fun in Buffalo Bill’s...

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

There is so much going on in Yellowstone Country during the late summer and fall, this cowgirl is going to have to do some serious prioritizing. With scribbles in the margins, blacked-out dates and notes-to-self like “don’t miss,” “must do,” and “top priority,” practically every weekend day for the next two months, I am going to have to make some hard decisions.

Here’s an example. During the last weekend in July, there are three major events that I want to experience, and only two days to do it. Marked on my calendar as a “don’t miss,” the annual Heart Mountain Pilgrimage July 28-30 is close to my heart. Each year the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation invites historians, authors and other experts to participate in insightful panel discussions that reflect the significance of the site where 14,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during World War II. There are also documentaries and exhibits. How can I miss that?

This year’s Heart Mountain Pilgrimage will feature the work of artist Roger Shimomura.

That same weekend, the “must do” Historic Pitchfork Ranch Tour explores the Pitchfork Ranch – a historically and biologically significant ranch in the Greybull River Basin where The Nature Conservancy worked with the owners to Read More