If you plan to hike, bring hiking boots if you have them. Always bring some warm clothing if you plan to drive up into the mountains, including Yellowstone, as there can be a cold snap, even snow in any month of the year in the high country. Casual and nice casual clothing is the rule around Cody. You won't need a suit and tie or a long dress to eat out in any of Cody's restaurants. CAMERAS: should not be left at home, no matter what type you own. Also, if you have them, a tripod and telephoto lenses are wonderful for photographing elk, deer, bear, big horn sheep, buffalo, antelope, coyote, wolves (in Yellowstone), birds,etc. A movie camera or a digital with video would be great if you plan to take in the July 4th parade or a rodeo. The photo of this grizzly bear with her cub was taken along the highway, which runs beside the Shoshone River as you drive to Yellowstone National Park. It was taken with a 300mm zoom lens. If you are headed for Yellowstone National Park, and plan to spend time viewing wildlife, be sure to bring binoculars. A spotting scope, if you have one, is even better. Wildlife can be off in the distance, especially if you are out looking for wolves, and this equipment can greatly enhance your wildlife experience.
Here is a piece of information that most tourists do not know about the beautiful Yellowstone Lake. The “Cody Enterprise”Monday, November 4, 2002 newspaper ran an article that tells us: “A recent survey of the bottom of Yellowstone Lake has revealed hundreds of previously undocumented hot-water vents and explosion craters up to one-mile wide. The surveys revealed more than 250 hydrothermal vents. Only about 20 had been identified previously.” This new information makes the lake bottom one of the most geologically active areas in the park. The article goes on to state, “That 250 (figure) pertains to only about one-third of the lake.” It is believed that even more vents will be identified as the study continues. So Yellowstone Lake, even on its most peaceful days is never really at rest. Walk along its shores, enjoy a picnic, or rent a boat at Bridge Bay, but always respect the power of the lake, especially when boating. Violent storms can arise quickly, and the water temperature is deadly cold.
For more information on Yellowstone visit my detailed Yellowstone National Park, My Neighbor pages.
There are river trips available, but I must warn you that we have never taken one so I do not know if they are worth the money or not. The oldest established river raft business in town is the Wyoming River Trips. They have two locations in town. One is by the Holiday Inn on E. Sheridan, and the other is next to Wal-Mart west of town. You may call them for a free brochure or write to P.O. Box 1541, Cody, Wyoming, 82414. They offer 4 trips ranging from 2 hours to 5 hours in length. The two hour trip runs from May 1 to Sept. 30. The 3 hour trip runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and the 4 to 5 hour trip runs from May 25 to July 25. A fourth trip allows you to rent your own inflatable Kayak and runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Wyoming River Trips phone numbers are 800-587-6661 or 307-587-6661.
I fell in love with Cody
"Cody, the town of western movies"
One only needs to cover the asphalt main street in Cody with some dirt, and one could easily think one was in one of the many old west towns seen in Hollywood movies. With only about 9000 permanent residents, the place has an uncanny western authenticity to it no readily found in the eastern states. People are open and friendly. Maybe beacuse they are, at the same time, sure of themselves. The whole place has that nonsence attitude to it. The men are courteous, and the women beutiful, with a certain cuteness to them that does not need make up. I like the place.
"The Scout," a bronze statue of Buffalo Bill Cody, our town's founder, has stood at the Western end of Cody's downtown since 1924 and has become a symbol for Cody. William F. Cody held many jobs including herding cattle, a dispatcher with a bull train, a trapper, and at the age of fourteen he became a pony express rider. He became a scout for Bill Hickock, and later for the government, serving as Chief Scout in many battles against the Indians and being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery. In 1867 Cody began work for the Kansas Pacific Railroad killing buffalo to feed the large construction crews, it was during this time that he received the nickname of "Buffalo Bill." This job caused problems with the Indians, and is still criticized today as according to Cody he killed around 6,570 buffalo in the 18 months he worked for the railroad. Buffalo Bill Cody had many "dime" novels written about him some of which were turned into plays. Eventually he moved to New York, turning to acting, playing himself on stage. He began to think of an idea for a show that would show the common cowboy using their skills with horses and cattle. This idea grew into an outdoor show called "The Wild West Show and The Congress of Rough Riders of the World", which became famous. He hired cowboys, Indians, sharpshooters, musicians, and rounded up horses, cattle, buffalo, bears, and mountain sheep for his show. The show included many aspects of the west such as roping, bucking horses, shooting, trick riding, Indian dancing, and dramatizes wild west acts such as staged Indian raids. Touring Europe, he performed and socialized with princes, queens, and kings, as well as performing for the pope. At the time he became the most well know American in the world. The expenses were great however, and he eventually returned to the United states were his show performed for the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Cody heard about the beautiful Big Horn Basin of Wyoming and after meeting George Beck who had hopes of introducing irrigation to the area, they formed a partnership to develop a town which was named Cody in honor Buffalo Bill, who financed many developments in the area. He owned three cattle ranches around Cody, and in 1902 he began the construction of the Irma Hotel. He built a hunting lodge called Pahaska Teepee, which still stands near the East Entrance of Yellowstone Park.
The Irma Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, and was named for Buffalo Bill's youngest daughter, Irma Louise Cody, who was born February 9, 1886. William Cody, also know as Buffalo Bill, built the hotel in 1902 at the cost of $80,000. Everyone from Colonel Cody himself, to princes, Indian Chiefs, cowboys, businessmen, rock stars, movie stars, locals, and tourists have slept and eaten here. Suites in the Irma Hotel have been restored to resemble rooms of its early days. The cherry wood back bar stands in one of the dining rooms exactly where it stood when Buffalo Bill owned the hotel. This back bar was presented to Bill Cody by Queen Victoria of England after a command performance of his Wild West Show.
This is a view from my back yard, which borders a cattle ranch. The mountain in the photo is Carter Mountain, and although it is spring, fresh snow had fallen the night before, once again dressing Carter Mountain in white.
Heart Mountain can be seen from our front field. This mountain is often called the upside down mountain. This is because it is a geological mystery. Older limestone lies atop younger sedimentary strata, which is the opposite of how a stratum is normally found. Somehow its limestone cap became separated from larger masses of limestone similar to those found sixty miles away in Yellowstone National Park. Geologists from around the world have studied Heart Mountain, yet the origin of its older cap still remains a subject of debate. The Nature Conservancy has purchased a large portion of the mountain to protect its wildlife and its large concentration of rare plants.
Although I have a good view of these mountains from my front window, this is a closer view that I see every time I head for town. In this photo McCullough Peaks had just received a fresh early spring snow.
Cacti grow as far north as Canada, with the plains prickly pear being one of the hardiest. This is a small prickly pear that lies close to the ground. The pads of these cacti rarely become larger than five inches long. These pads may become wrinkled as winter approaches due to the loss of water in the cells of the plant. This condition increases the frost resistance of the plant. Flowers on this plant are generally yellow, and less often pink. The fruit that follows the flowers is edible, although I have never tried it. Each spring, usually sometime in June, the back section of our property comes alive with the wonderful blooms of the prickly pear.
In early spring we sometimes get a heavy hoarfrost. This is a view of our house from the bottom of our front field. The grasses and trees are covered with a heavy, thick, hoarfrost.
This photo was taken looking up our driveway during a spring hoarfrost.