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I took the pledge and you should too!

May 15th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

And we’re off! The East Gate to Yellowstone National Park has opened, and my friends and I have already passed through the popular entrance for our first park experience of the year.  Around here, we call it the “Wildest Way into Yellowstone”.

The National Park Service rangers were all smiles as they welcomed my carload of adventurers. We had our binoculars around our necks and spotting scopes packed in the trunk, ready to quickly set up in the event of a wildlife sighting. Bears, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, eagles, foxes, coyotes, mule deer…we know that wildlife sightings in the spring can be frequent and close to the road.

Some Yellowstone visitors get far too close to bison and other wildlife in the park.

As we arrived at the gate, our friendly ranger provided us with park information and a map. And we also learned about the park’s new Safe Selfie policy and the accompanying push encouraging park visitors to “Take the Yellowstone Pledge (#YellowstonePledge).”

It’s a verbal pledge encouraging visitors to be aware of their own safety and the safety of the wildlife in the park. It’s a promise that you make to yourself.  Yellowstone’s wildlife roam freely right along with its visitors, Read More


The Lilacs Will Soon Be in Bloom, and We...

May 1st, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Cody is beginning its annual color parade. The lilacs that are so prolific in Cody will soon show their colors in hedges along the roads, in private yards and on the grounds of elegantly manicured hotels and museums.

I adore these hardy plants for their perpetual optimism. Even when winter is throwing final tantrums of snow, damp and cold, lilacs gracefully go about the business of being beautiful. They do this when we’re not paying attention. Today, they were saggy and brown; soon they will be vibrant and aromatic.

The aroma of lilacs can be enjoyed throughout Cody.

A metaphor, perhaps, for my own life. I pack away the heavy blacks and browns and pull out the frilly, flowy yellows, oranges and purples.  I smell lilacs outside and Lysol inside my home. I crave clean windows and a neat closet. I trim back the crispy remains of my perennials and plant ostentatious pansies in their wake. My spring fever will shift into overdrive as soon as the lilacs appear. Because now, there is little time to waste. Summer will soon be here.

When the lilacs appear, a switch is thrown throughout the town, and summer-season attractions step up the preparations. Yesterday I saw Read More


My Niece has Nature Deficit Disorder....

April 25th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Richard Louv’s groundbreaking 2005 book about nature deficit disorder, “Last Child in the Woods,” could have been written about my lovely niece Mary, except she was just an infant, and her fingers weren’t strong enough yet to hold an iPhone. When I flew from Yellowstone Country to New York for her second birthday, finger strength was clearly no longer an issue. That child had more electronics at two than I’ve owned in my lifetime.

Mary’s a city kid who is comfortable in cabs, knows her way around a museum and understands theater etiquette, but in her 13 years she has never jumped into a river, climbed a mountain, ridden a horse or camped in the woods. I find this troubling. So, for her 13th birthday, I bought her a plane ticket and convinced her parents that a full week in Yellowstone Country and the undivided attention of Aunt Corrie would be good for her.

Then I remembered how at 13 my demeanor was comparable to that of bull elk during the rut. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating or butting heads with my brother. What was I thinking? What would I do with a teenage city slicker?

Fortunately for me, Buffalo Bill’s Read More


Booking My Tickets to See Coach Bob Knight

April 4th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Something that most people do not know about me is that starting in mid-March for a three-week stretch there are pockets of time when I can be very hard to reach. I don’t answer the phone, return texts, post to Facebook, send e-mails or even answer the doorbell.

And I know I’m not the only one who hibernates here in Buffalo Bill’s Yellowstone Country this time of year. (The bears don’t count.)

That’s right, I gladly go all in for March Madness, both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Championships. I watch the selection show and try to guess which #12 seeds will upset the #5 seeds (it happens every year), and I imagine that I will correctly call the first time a #16 takes down a #1.

And when the championship games are completed, I have mixed feelings about the tournaments ending and knowing that if they lasted any longer they would just not be as good. Reminds me of opening that last present on Christmas.

So you can imagine my excitement when, in the midst of all the craziness, I learned that famed basketball coach Bob Knight was coming to our town and on April 28 will be the featured speaker at Read More


Rafting will be at the Top of the Class...

March 29th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

So winter has officially ended, even though our Northwest Wyoming mountains look like a scene out of the movie Fargo. I look up at all that snow and start calculating how many more days I will need my snow shoes and cross country skis on a few of my favorite backcountry trails. I am already reminiscing about my turns and jumps at Sleeping Giant Ski Area, some days snowmobiling to places you simply cannot get to under human power and ascending frozen waterfalls in the Shoshone National Forest.

And that snow gets me to thinking about something else.

Whitewater rafting.

Yep. All the snow that brought California, Oregon and the rest of the Northwest out of drought conditions and filled the reservoirs back up means that our rivers will be flowing fast this spring and, with luck, well into summer.

But don’t take my word for it. Ask the pros.

That’s what I did when I called down to Wyoming River Trips for the latest scoop. 

Ron and Rick Blanchard traded in rodeo for rafting in 1978 and have built Wyoming River Trips into a leading rafting outfitter in Northwest Wyoming. The brothers’ children are now guiding and helping to manage operations.

Ron answered the phone. It’s Read More


Time to Break Out the Baseball and Bears

March 20th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It’s that time of year here in Yellowstone Country when I get a song or two bouncing in my head.

I know, I know. You’re surprised that more than one can reside there in a given week, but it’s true. What’s really shocking is that neither are cowboy songs.

The first is the spring anthem for many people. When the opening to John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” comes on the radio, I am personally beating the drum and holding the phone and feeling born again because there’s green grass on the field. Even though spring training is in full force a few miles south of us in Arizona, I can feel baseball heading my way. It’s almost as exciting as opening night of Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue.

Yes, that is John Fogerty in centerfield.

You can thank Walt Disney for the second song. While I would not normally cue up “The Bear Necessities” on my turntable – yes, I still have one of those contraptions – it does wriggle its way into my subconscious every year when I receive word that “the first bear of the season has been spotted.”

That’s right. On March 15 the National Park Service (NPS) sent out the word that Read More


Equal Time for Men Who Rocked Cody’s World

March 14th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

In celebration of National Women’s History Month, last week I wrote about some of the many women who made their mark on Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country. Even though there is no National Men’s History Month, I am a fair-minded and magnanimous woman, and I believe that men should get equal time in the spotlight. Most of the time.

But where to start? Now 121 years old, Cody was a frontier town with the kinds of law-and-order challenges that lend a certain amount of credence to Hollywood’s vision of the Wild West.  At one time, you could say something like “Whoa, take ‘er easy there, Pilgrim,” and not be laughed out of town. You didn’t even have to be John Wayne to pull it off.

Speaking of the Duke, John Wayne once served as Grand Marshal of the annual Cody Stampede Parade, one of the first of several events that comprise the five-day Cody Stampede Celebration. Every year, the announcement of the Grand Marshal is highly anticipated. Last year’s grand marshal was storyteller Red Steagall, and previous years the town has welcomed Steven Seagal, Chuck Yeager and Wilford Brimley.

John Wayne served as Grand Marshal of the Cody Stampede Parade in 1976.

Clarence Williams Read More


The Women Who Rocked Cody’s World

March 7th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

March is a significant month. It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and about mid-month, the entire population of Cody, Wyoming, like the rest of the country, discovers its Irish ancestry, develops a craving for corned beef and rediscovers the verdant clothing items in the back of their closets. March is also the month when certain segments of the population celebrate Extraterrestrial Abductions Day (March 20), Ear Muff Day (March 13) and National Goof Off Day (March 22).

While I’m all for goofing off while eating gooey Reubens, adjusting my head gear and watching the skies for spaceships, the main reason I find the month so significant is because it is also National Women’s History Month. Being a woman with a history myself, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Women have played a huge role throughout the 121-year history of Cody, and there are countless examples women of the city who helped soften a fledgling frontier town’s rough edges and improved its cultural and artistic bonafides. Here are a few of those women:

Nancy-Carroll Draper was a dedicated benefactor and supporter of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and she played a pivotal role in the establishment of Read More


Getting My Yellowstone Fix at the Draper...

March 2nd, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

This is the time of year when I dream of geysers and mud pots, raptors and wolves. The world’s first and arguably favorite national park is just around the corner from Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country. But this time of year, it might as well be thousands of miles.

In March, most of the roads are still unplowed, and most of the park’s visitors enter through the park’s North Gate just outside of Gardiner, Mont. When I was cross country skiing along the north fork of the Shoshone River this past weekend, I saw that the East Gate to the park is still buried under feet of snow.

Grizzlies are awakening in Yellowstone National Park, even though much of the park is still buried by snow and roads are unplowed. For now, Corrie is content to view displays of bears and other wildlife at the Draper Natural History Museum.

 

It will be about six to eight weeks before the National Park Service begins to open park roads including the East and Northeast Gate near Cody, and at least a month after that before most of the park’s hotels, restaurants and other services are up to full speed.

So what does this Cody girl do Read More


The Bear Facts

February 21st, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (4)

I got a phone call the other day from a friend in Colorado Springs. It seems that the first black bear of the season had come out of hibernation and promptly headed towards town in search of a good meal. Wildlife officials tranquilized and relocated the bruin to another part of the state where it will probably return to hibernating.

As far as we know, there have not been any bear sightings yet this year in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.

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

While it happens sometimes that a bear is fooled into thinking winter is over, it is usually not until March or April that we really start to see the bears. We certainly see our share of warm sunny days out here, and we humans are always jumping the gun thinking it’s time to put away the skis, snow shoes, snowmobiles, gloves and ice skates. Personally, I will wait longer before I switch to my summer wardrobe.

I decided to learn a little more about bear hibernation and fired up my laptop. The North American Bear Center seemed like a good place to go, and it provided exactly the answers I wanted.

Here are some the Read More