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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


March Madness, Cody Yellowstone Style

March 18th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I have a theory that male grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park are college basketball tournament fans.

Cody Country features both black bears and grizzlies (above).

Almost like clockwork, the male of the species emerges from hibernation right around March Madness. Females with cubs, on the other hand, emerge in April/early May, after the NCAA basketball ends.

In 2018 the first bear was spotted March 7, and the National Park Service just sent me a press release saying tracks were found March 8 between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction, but an actual bear was spotted March 11 between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge.

Mama bears and their cubs do not emerge from their dens until April or May.

The announcement did not mention the bear’s favorite team – I’m thinking the UCLA Bruins – but it did provide some good tips when you’re in bear country.

Here they are:

Prepare for a bear encounter.  Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it’s accessible.  Stay alert.  Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails, and make noise. Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night. Do not run if you encounter a bear.  Stay 100 yards away from black and Read More

Lopsided Loving in Wonderland, and Where...

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

March 1 was Yellowstone National Park’s 147th birthday. Or maybe I should say it was “Wonderland’s” birthday because that’s what a Northern Pacific Railroad advertisement called the world’s first national park in an advertisement promoting the newly accessible destination.

The moniker played on the popularity of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and it effectively awakened the imagination and wanderlust of a generation.

Inspired, and with travel made easier – or at least doable — wealthy Easterners loaded families, servants and steamer trunks and boarded the train for an adventure of the lifetime. And so did the next generation and the generation after that.

Year by year, more visitors came, eventually trading train and stagecoach transportation for private cars, buses, motorcycles and in the winter, snowcoaches. In 1904, nearly 14,000 visitors entered the park. Last year, the number of annual visitors reached 4.1 million.

With that kind of increase, it’s no wonder park-lovers concerned that visitors are overwhelming the park’s fragile eco-system and infrastructure have said that we are loving our beloved Wonderland to death.

I can see their point, but we seem to be loving Yellowstone lopsidedly.

Rangers will tell you that 97 percent of the visitors to Yellowstone experience Read More


The Cody Yellowstone Calendar

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

I have two calendars. The first probably looks a lot like yours with 12 months and 31 days hath September and so on. You know, the calendar Julius Caesar reformed in 42 BCE that was refined by the Gregorians in 1582. Everybody knows that, right?

That calendar is where I write things like appointments for haircuts, doctor visits, teeth cleaning and vet checkups.

The second is my “Cody Yellowstone Calendar.” If I were to fall into a “Sleeping Beauty” slumber where I didn’t know how long I was out until a cowboy prince kissed me, I could still tell the time of year by the sights, sounds and smells around me, each offering clues about what is happening and what is about to happen.

Here are some examples and their meanings:

When the plows start clearing the roads in Yellowstone National Park, it’s a sure sign that winter is almost over.

While I was up the Wapiti Valley the other day getting in some late runs at Sleeping Giant Ski Area one of the boarders told me that snowplows (snowplows one word) inside Yellowstone were starting to clear roads. That means winter is coming to end and we should stop climbing waterfalls. When the Read More

Tips to Make Your Vacation the Best...

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

In my office overlooking Cody Yellowstone, I am in the position of offering all sorts of tips for vacation planners.

There are countless ways to visit our region and so many things on which to focus that I like to treat each request for information differently. Some folks are looking for help on everything from accommodations and meals to attractions and activities while others just want to know where to find pull-through sites for their Class A Winnebago.

I have developed a short list that I call “Corrie’s Tips to not Fritter and Waste Your Hours in an Offhand Way.” Here they are:

Take the time off in the first place. Workers in the United States leave way too much vacation time on the table, according to the U.S. Travel Association. While people may think they are indispensable or that their employers will think they are slackers if they are not at work all the time, studies show that time off helps people be more productive and is good for their health and minds. Take into account distances. The atlas that devotes a page to each state can be pretty misleading. The drive across Illinois on Interstate 80 is significantly shorter than Wyoming’s. Plan Read More

Theodore Roosevelt’s Lasting Impact on...

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

With Presidents Day approaching, I am reminded of the many U.S. presidents who visited the Cody Yellowstone region throughout history. Some came for personal vacations and some came in official dignitary capacity. Some came for a brief park visit and photo op and others left a lasting mark on the park. One of those presidents was Theodore Roosevelt.

It is widely known that one of the most adventurous and pro-conservation U.S. presidents in history was Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, a New Yorker who became the youngest president in history when he swore his oath as a 42-year-old after the 1901 assassination of William McKinley.

Born to a wealthy family, Roosevelt was a sickly child who as a teen, and with the encouragement of his father built up his body and physical endurance through weightlifting, boxing and other physical pursuits.

Sharply intelligent and driven, Roosevelt quickly ticked off personal milestones – Harvard, law school, wife, baby – and took his first position in the world of politics on the New York State Assembly.

His professional and personal trajectories were suddenly halted, however, when his mother and wife died on the same day in February 1884. Grief-stricken, Roosevelt left his child in the Read More


Cody Yellowstone by the Numbers

January 15th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I freely admit that I am one of those people who loves obscure and not-so-obscure facts, statistics and observations. For me it’s fun to sit around and talk about items like who played Clint Reno in Love Me Tender or Dr. John Carpenter in Change of Habit. (Hint: It was Elvis Presley, and these were his first and final movie roles.)

While pop culture is always fertile ground for lighthearted discussions, I also like to look at subjects from a numbers perspective. Here are some items about Cody Yellowstone that I find fascinating.

Park County covers 6,967 square miles.

6,967. Park County Wyoming covers 6,967 square miles. That is a big chunk of land, almost 15 times the size of all five boroughs of New York City.

30,000. We have less than 30,000 residents in our county. The Big Apple, on the other hand, has around 8.5 million.

4.1. There are just over four residents per square mile in Cody Yellowstone.

53. More than half – 53 percent – of Yellowstone National Park is located in Park County.

3. In our vast county are just three municipalities – Cody, Powell and Meeteetse.

5. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is comprised of five museums: Buffalo Bill Read More


Psst, Want to Win a Free Trip to the 100th...

October 25th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I love chatting up multi-generational vacationers. They are easy to spot as the little ones clearly enjoy being with the grandparents, and the grandparents enjoy spoiling the little ones. Meanwhile, the parents get to escape work, house maintenance and back-to-school shopping while “letting” the grandparents pick up dinner checks and buy souvenirs.

For many of these families, this is not their first trip to the coolest Western town ever. The parents and grandparents are busy pointing out local landmarks that really haven’t changed much. The Irma Hotel and other Sheridan Avenue structures look much the same. The Poker Church is a comforting site, and Cassie’s is a constant reminder of simpler times.

The one thing the older generations remember best, however, is our status as the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

When I asked older (non-kid) visitors what they remember about their childhood visits to Cody and the area, far and away the most common answer is “the rodeo.”

Yes, we love our rodeo, and nobody remembers when it was not an integral part of our community. While the Nite Rodeo happens every night in June, July and August, the biggest summer event is the Cody Stampede Rodeo at the beginning of July.

In 2019, Read More


Ninnyhammers, please stay home

September 30th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Every year, more than 4 million people lock up their homes in Manchester and Salzburg, Pittsburgh and Denver, Toronto and Sao Paulo, Wellington and Amsterdam with strategically packed suitcases and pre-downloaded apps on their fully charged phones, and they make their way by car, RV, airplane or bus to the world’s first national park.

Some of those visitors are bound to be ninnyhammers, and I wish they’d just stay home.

Ninnyhammer was the special label my genteel grandmother reserved for the occasional idiot who had the bad judgment to cross her path. She’d look the person directly in the eye and offer a carefully-worded put-down that usually started something like, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you,” and ended with something like, “anytime you happen to pass my house, I’d sure appreciate it.”

Grandma always had a lot of snap in her garters.

You can easily spot a ninnyhammer in Yellowstone. They are the ones who get far too close to wildlife, refuse to stay on boardwalks, bring their pets on trails, carry guns and ignore all the other rules that are liberally posted throughout the park.

Every year, a few park visitors get too close to wildlife Read More


No, Recent Thermal Activity Doesn’t Mean...

September 21st, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I was greeted with a familiar scene the other day. As I was walking in to Sierra Trading post a friend of my mine was leaving with a sleeping bag, three pairs of Tevas and a portable camping stove.

I turned around and followed her to car which was full of more supplies.

“What’s going on, Kirsten?” I asked. Like the old show Dragnet, her name was changed to protect the innocent, even though she is not very innocent. She is also prone to overreactions.

“Just preparing for when the Big One blows its top,” she responded, packing her latest purchase in with an eight-pack of toilet paper and a six pack of Buffalo Bill Beer. “Didn’t you catch the latest press release from the National Park Service?”

Actually, I had seen the release. It described new thermal activity in the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. Near Old Faithful geyser is an area called Geyser Hill which people can easily climb to gain a nice view of the area. New vents were erupting and splashing water on the boardwalks while surface fractures were appearing. Parts of the area were closed off to prevent people from getting too close.

The Upper Geyser Basin Read More