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Mammoth Secrets in Yellowstone National Park

September 12th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hot Springs is a place where it seems natural – perhaps advisable – to whisper. And you might just hear the ghosts of this northern region of Yellowstone whisper back.

It is a place where ancient geothermal formations are continuously shape-shifting. It is where the park’s early visitors, explorers and managers sought to claim, tame, manage – and sometimes exploit — its rumbling, other-worldly features. This is where many of the park’s elk spend amorous days dating and mating during the fall rutting season. And where one of the park’s first grand hotels housed weary train passengers before they embarked on their Grand Loop adventure in the park’s interior. 

I recently returned to this region of the park when the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel reopened after a massive renovation. I was thrilled with the results of the year-long project, as it pays tribute to the hotel’s storied past while updating the services and features for future generations of visitors. After settling into my room, I wandered down to the new Map Room Bar to warm up with a Huckleberry Mocha. 

Created by architect Robert Reamer in 1937, the massive map that hangs on the wall of the Map Room has always Read More


Looking Forward to Fall

September 4th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I have a friend who tends to become sad at the end of seasons, events, holidays, visits by out-of-town relatives, etc. People have commented that we are probably so close because I am the opposite. 

I did not view Labor Day Weekend as the end of the summer tourism season. Instead, I looked at it as the beginning of one of my favorite times here in Cody Yellowstone.

Summer is great, and nothing compares to families with wide-eyed kids taking in their first Great American Adventure to see geysers and rodeos, to eat the state’s best prime rib, to view true Western art, to wonder how people could live in those small one-room cabins.

Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center is always worth some extra time.

The atmosphere is noticeably different, however, when the empty nesters show up. Often these folks will take an extra day or two as they take a more leisurely approach to visit at all five of the museums in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West or stop and ponder over the exhibits at the Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center. They will dig a little deeper and check out the Dug Up Gun Museum or wander across the street Read More


Cody’s Delightfully Authentic...

August 26th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Old Trail Town is one of Cody’s authentic treasures, even though such a town never existed. It is a place to let your imagination roam freely; to nurture your interest in the history of the American West and to imagine the hardships, ingenuity and spirit of the generations who carved a life from a frequently unforgiving land. 

Here, just on the outskirts of Cody within striking distance of the Cody Nite Rodeo grounds, is where I like to wander when I’m in a restless mood. I imagine that Bob Edgar might have been prone to the same habit.

Corrie peeks inside one of the Old Trail Town buildings.

A passionate historian and long-time Cody resident, Bob Edgar and some of his friends searched the far corners of Montana and Wyoming for western buildings that had been preserved well enough to be disassembled, moved and authentically reassembled along one of two boardwalks that line a dirt “street.” For this fantastical creation, they chose a site that was originally “Cody City”, just a short distance from downtown Cody. It was the plot of land that town founder Buffalo Bill Cody had originally chosen to build his town. 

With a blacksmith shop, saloon, school, general store, Read More


Four things I love to do in the fall in...

August 16th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

When fall comes to Cody Yellowstone, the region is transformed from a family vacation hot spot to an adventure-rich adult haven that is unlike anywhere else in the world. This is the time of year when I spend more time savoring my favorite Cody Yellowstone adventures. Here are four of them.

Watching elk and other animals in the wild is another favorite fall pastime.

Wildlife-watching. Although I enjoy wildlife watching year-round, it is an especially thrilling adventure in the fall when the elk are bugling. Fall is mating season, and elk take their procreation duties seriously. Like the Instagramming humans who observe them, elk like to “share” their experiences too – by bugling about them. The shrill, ancient sound made by a male elk in rut reminds me in a goose bump-inducing way that this region is still one of the wildest places on Earth. 

Cody Yellowstone is especially fun to explore by foot.

Hiking. Yellowstone National Park is full of epic hiking trails ranging from easy strolls to heart-pounding climbs. No matter what kind of hike I’m up for, I find that hiking in Yellowstone is especially enjoyable when there are fewer people and cooler temperatures. I booked a room for Read More


Why I have Problems Binge Watching Television

August 6th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

There are times I wish I could sit down and binge watch a series on Netflix, Prime, Hulu or whatever else is out there.

I’ve enjoyed watching episodes of many shows, and some appeal to my sometimes-warped sense of humor. Tony Soprano meeting a friend or rival in front of the Lou Costello Memorial statue made me laugh for days. Better Call Saul is full of subtle references that made me back up and play over because I knew I missed something and wanted to know what it was.

There really is a Lou Costello Memorial Park.

The kids on Stranger Things remind me of my youth, and not just because the soundtrack features favorites like Madonna and Weird Al Yankovic. You know, the giants that were huge influences during my formative years.

The problem is I will start watching a show and something will happen that makes me turn off the television and head out the door. Halfway through an episode of Friends and I was on my way to Rawhide Coffee for a cup of joe. Same thing happened when I tried to watch Twin Peaks.

I loved Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods, but the movie, not so much. Read More


Midsummer Dreaming

August 1st, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

There is an ongoing argument among some of the locals who are often found hanging out in the lounge at the Irma. They can bend your ear to the point of breaking while they present their cases why summer starts A)June 21 or B)Memorial Day weekend.

The Irma’s cherrywood bar is the site of many a spirited discussion.

On one hand we had the “summer-lasts-from-Memorial-Day-to-Labor-Day” faction that fondly remembered their childhood summers as uninterrupted stretches of swimming, ballplaying and marshmallow toasting. They never got bored or annoyed with their friends, and they always listened to their mothers. 

Their counterparts insisted on summer starting the moment of the solstice on or about June 21 and ending on the Autumnal equinox three months later. 

I got suckered into their discussion once and realized after I bought one round – but before they could stick me with a second – that they were having fun and snaring unsuspecting people like me in their trap. One of their tricks is to turn the discussion to what constitutes “Mid-Summer.” If summer starts Memorial Day, then the midway point is roughly July 15. According to the purists, August 6 marks halfway through the summer.

After some good-natured name calling and Read More


The Talented Hands of Cody

July 19th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It’s amazing what can be done with 14 phalanges, eight carpals and five metacarpals, especially if those phalanges, carpals and metacarpals are located in Cody, Wyoming. 

That’s what I was thinking as I strolled through the gallery at the new By Western Hands Gallery & Museum, perusing the functional furniture creations of a hand-picked, exclusive group of regional craftspeople who adhere to Western design traditions. These artists use materials like burled logs and American Indian patterns to create distinctive furniture and art that does more than just look pretty. The poker table and grandfather clock are out of my price range, but maybe that beaded pillow would be a good accent in the Corrie N. Cody house. Some day.

This dollhouse showcases the work of many of the region’s artists and can be seen at By Western Hands Gallery and Museum.

My small town on the eastern edge of Yellowstone happens to have many ultra-talented residents who create magic with their bare hands. 

Dan Miller, Hannah Miller and Wendy Corr perform Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue throughout the summer.

Take the musical hands of Dan Miller, Hannah Miller and Wendy Corr as they perform Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue six nights a week Read More


Quieting Down? Not Even Close

July 9th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Even though we weren’t root, root rooting for our team, the just-completed Cody Stampede always feels like Homecoming Weekend to us here in Cody Yellowstone.

And considering this was our centennial celebration there were more familiar faces than normal along the parade route, in the stands at rodeo, on the dance floor at Cassie’s, bellied up to the bars at the Silver Dollar and Pat O’Haras. 

I had to laugh when some new friends who moved here this spring commented that once the Stampede was done things would quiet down. They did not realize that our summer would hum along for quite a while and that many of our attractions are either open just for the summer or host most of their guests during the traditional vacation months when school is out.

Here are some of my suggestions for activities you should check out before the end of summer:

Experience the rodeo. The Cody Nite Rodeo is often travelers’ first rodeo experience. Open nightly from June 1 through August 31, the rodeo features riders, ropers, bull riders and bronc busters from all over the country.  Watch the wacky Wild Bunch perform a “gunfight” with a gun safety message. The place to be on summer evenings Read More

June Means New Activities, Including Rafting

June 17th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

So much happens here in Cody Yellowstone when June arrives.

The lights go on at the rodeo grounds, and the Cody Nite Rodeo starts entertaining visitors and introducing new generations to bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing and Dolly Parton jokes.

The Cody Gunfighters put on a play that is equal parts shoot-em-up, gun safety and “photo opps.”

Dan Miller and his Cowboy Music Revue combine terrific acoustic music with Western humor and the occasional dash of cowboy poetry.

The dude and guest ranches saddle up the horses, bake the beans and remind parents that there aren’t apps for the things that truly bring families together.

Many people have taken their first ride at a dude or guest ranch in Cody/Yellowstone.

A common theme I hear on my near-daily jaunts down Sheridan Avenue is that people want to try new activities. More people than I can count have cast their first flies on one of our lakes or rivers. The biggest thrill for folks from Florida is often finding a patch of snow and throwing a snowball in June. Shopping for a cowboy hat is a new experience for those not old enough to remember when Urban Cowboy came out.

The region is known Read More


Letting Kids Take the Lead

June 11th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Now that it’s mid-June school is pretty much out. Sure, there are a few places that get creative and look for ways to maximize the use of their classrooms by instituting year-round schedules, but the traditional calendar still rules.

I can tell just by looking out my window that more families are in town. The miniature golf course at the corner of 9th and Sheridan definitely sees more play, and the nightly gunfighter show is increasingly popular.

The campground managers have their own semi-scientific methods as well. One counts the number of kids’ bicycles in the racks while another tracks the inventory of s’mores kits she sells in her camp store. Those numbers go straight up about now and stay that way until late August.

My favorite tracking technique, however, was developed by my friend at our visitor’s center. She keeps a running tab of the hair of people seeking information. When dark (and thick) hair prevails she knows that parents and children are on vacation. Lighter (and thinner) hair means the empty nesters are in town.

When parents ask me for recommendations for kid-friendly activities I tell them to keep an open mind, don’t over plan and let the kids take the lead. Read More