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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


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


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


The Mystery of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Two...

July 3rd, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Most people only get one grave, but Buffalo Bill Cody always the showman, has two. That’s what I explained to my friends from Denver as we drove by Cedar Mountain, or Spirit Mountain as the locals call it. 

My friends had visited the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave on Lookout Mountain just outside of Denver. That is where most people believe Buffalo Bill Cody is buried. 

Like many Cody locals, though, I’m not so sure. There are some in Cody and elsewhere who believe that Buffalo Bill is in fact buried in an unmarked grave on Spirit Mountain overlooking the town he built, just as he had once written in his will.

Like many residents of Cody, Corrie thinks Buffalo Bill is buried on top of Cody’s Spirit Mountain, overlooking the town he built.

What gives? The story of Buffalo Bill’s two graves includes enough intrigue for a full-length movie and involves a bold plan, a middle-of the-night trip to a Denver mortuary, an unlucky ranch hand bearing a likeness to Buffalo Bill and a passionate group of riled-up townspeople in mourning for their beloved town founder after his death in Denver on Jan. 10, 1917. 

No one disputes the manner and location of Read More


Buffalo Bill Cody and the Bone Wars

May 30th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody had skills. A lot of them. He was a trapper, bullwhacker, Pony Express Rider, Colorado “Fifty-Niner” wagon master, stagecoach driver, Civil War soldier, hotel manager and scout for the U.S. Army. He was a skilled hunter, a long-before-his-time showman, a diplomat, a newspaperman, a logistics magician and a civic-minded community leader with a special focus on the rights of children, women and minorities.

Buffalo Bill Cody was a man of many skills.

And in his spare time, he searched for – and found – dinosaurs. Well, fossils, anyway. In 1870, 24-year-old Buffalo Bill Cody led an ultra-competitive fossil-hunter named Othniel Charles Marsh into the wilds of western Kansas to search for dinosaur fossils. Marsh, a Yale professor, had already discovered dinosaur bone pits in Wyoming and Colorado, as had Marsh’s arch enemy, a British fossil-hunter named Edward Drinker Cope.

Both brilliant and prolific fossil hunters, Cope and Marsh had each been credited with numerous discoveries, and each frantically wrote and published scientific papers to ensure that credit was well documented. Though the two started out as friendly competitors, their relationship quickly became one characterized by petty vandalism, lies and theft and occasionally, violence.

Most scholars believe the Bone Read More


I’m Volunteering at By Western Hands....

May 14th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

When I was a kid I remember my parents jumping in to help friends and neighbors when a big job came up.

One time the couple next door decided to lay down sod in their front yard. As they started to pick up those heavy rolls and unroll them, you could hear the doors open and shut as one neighbor after another showed up to help. In less than a half hour, some 10 people had completed what would have been a long, hot and backbreaking job for two people.

Scenes like that were common. Nobody expected a direct or immediate payback. We all knew that the day would come when someone needed help and that somebody else would step up.

In my family this attitude was not confined to laying sod, changing tires or nailing up sheetrock. We would volunteer to take tickets at fundraisers at the Center of the West, sell hot dogs at the high school sporting events, wash Dan Miller’s car and help the staff at the hospital. Okay, just kidding about Dan. He can wash his own car.

Combine my parents’ example with our newest attraction in town, and you knew I would be first in line Read More


The East Gate is Open

May 8th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

If you remember my “Corrie Calendar” you know that I have this strange, mystical and almost creepy ability to tell what the date is – sorta, kinda – based upon weird factors. Just as the smell of leaves burning tells some people to turn on the television to watch college football, I know that roof racks full of skis and snow boards signals the opening of Sleeping Giant and hunting season is upon us when men in fashionable orange clothing are chowing down at the Proud Cut.

And a historic yellow bus heading into town from the direction of the Buffalo Bill Dam means that the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park is open.

Most of the roads inside the park are closed to regular wheeled vehicles during the winter. You can drive from Gardner, Mont. to Mammoth Hot Springs to Roosevelt Lodge and then east through Lamar Valley to Cooke City, Mont. where the road is closed again. The rest of the park roads are open only to over-the-snow vehicles such as snowmobiles and snow coaches. Many of the tracked vehicles, including the famed Bombardiers, have been replaced the past few years by fun modern coaches with oversized tires.

The Lake Yellowstone Hotel is always worth a visit.

So much of Yellowstone Read More


Where Else Would I go on “National Prime...

April 29th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

What did you have for dinner Saturday? You might have to think about it, but as soon as I heard it was “National Prime Rib Day” it was a no-brainer for me.

I headed straight to the Irma Hotel which serves Wyoming’s best prime rib special, according to the web site Cheapism. Locals and out-of-towners alike have been enjoying this tender cut of beef for as long as we could hold a knife and fork, and many people I chat with say they remember going to the Cody Nite Rodeo and eating the Irma’s prime rib as kids. As adults they have returned to do the same with their own children and grandchildren.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Irma Hotel was built by Buffalo Bill and named for his daughter. The hotel’s famous room-long cherry wood bar – still in use today in what is now the hotel dining room – was presented to Buffalo Bill Cody by England’s Queen Victoria. Like most kids, my nieces and nephews love watching the antics of the summer-season Cody Wild Bunch gunfighters from the porch of the hotel before enjoying buffet-style dinners in the charming Western-themed dining room.

The cherry wood Read More