Recently my cousin Diana decided to vacation in Cody which I took to mean that she intended to check into my guest room and let me cook and clean up after her for a week. I figured she was trying to save a few bucks like she did when we were little kids and she always left her allowance at home when we walked down to the corner store.
I could not have been more wrong about her intentions. She turned out to be a perfect guest. When we went out for dinner she was quick to pick up the check. When we stayed home for a meal she made sure to stop at the grocery store for supplies. She cleaned up afterwards, and we enjoyed doing the dishes together. It all seemed so natural.
But the best part of the week was that my cousin was simply looking for something active to do every day. She had heard that a vacation in Wyoming was not complete without hiking, riding or fishing.
“Fair enough,” I said. “We have more options for those activities than you can imagine. What do you want to do the rest of the week?”
And that’s how we set off to cover as much ground – and water and air – as we could in just seven days.
Here’s a rough breakdown of what we did:
After picking up Diana at the airport, we made the six-minute drive to my house and immediately headed out the back door for a hike. Because we have hundreds of miles of trails around here we never have to go far to find a trail that takes us away from cars or other people.
There was still some daylight after dinner, so we walked into town and made arrangements with one our local outfitters for guided mountain biking the next day. On the tour we met a family from Illinois and a couple from Germany. The enthusiasm of the group brought us together as we learned about everyone’s various hometowns and their lives. They were more than a little jealous that I was a local.
For the rest of the week we made a point of spending at least half the day outside. Diana had never fly fished before, but she turned out to be a natural.
“Why are you not on the river every day?” she asked about an hour into our foray.
“I ask myself that exact same question pretty much every time I come out here,” I answered. “But if I do that, when would I have the chance to ride a horse into the backcountry to do a little rock climbing?”
As we were riding back to the corral, Diana mischievously asked why I didn’t spend every day in the saddle or on the side of a cliff.
I laughed and said “I will answer that tomorrow while you are in a kayak and I am on a standup paddleboard.”
After a morning on still water and since we were already dressed for the occasion, we decided to stop at one of the rafting companies in town. There were spots open on a raft going down the Shoshone River about an hour later. There are various rafting trips available depending on how much time you have. Once again I did not want the trip to end, but we enjoyed the short version.
For a change of pace we made the six-minute drive back to the airport for a 90-minute ride in a micro light hang glider. Only when we were in the air did Diana get a good understanding of just how wide open this area truly is.
“We could hike, ride, bike, fish and raft for the next 50 years and never cover it all,” she observed.
The next day we took things easy. We drove into Yellowstone and hiked six miles along Delacey Creek to Shoshone Lake followed by a walk from Old Faithful to Morning Glory Pool and back. After the previous days’ activities it seemed easy.
The week absolutely flew by. Our shared experiences brought us close together in a way I did not imagine. About halfway through the week we discovered that growing up it seemed how all we ever heard was “what a great kid your cousin is” from our respective parents.
After an active week in Cody together, we came to the same conclusion. Our parents were right. We both have terrific cousins. We cannot wait until she comes back in the fall so that we can explore new corners of Wyoming together.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and missing a terrific kid – in Cody, Wyo.