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Corrie’s Gift Guide for the Cowgirls on...

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

It’s full-throttle panic time here in the Corrie N. Cody household, with chestnuts unroasted, wreaths unhung, Christmas tree unchopped, bows untied, holiday CDs unplayed and a front yard red-nosed reindeer uninflated.

At least I have my gift list completed. I’ve even checked it twice.

Here’s what I have in mind for the many ladies on my list.

For my intrepid but impatient mother – A gift certificate for an all-day fly fishing float trip on the North Fork of the Shoshone River. I chose this trip for Mom because it will satisfy her craving for action with lots of great trout fishing but it also will remind her to enjoy the bounty of eye candy – shores teeming with wildlife and the beauty of northwestern Wyoming’s backcountry all around.

Corrie’s Mom gets a float trip on the North Fork of the Shoshone River, an all-day adventure that combines lots of trout fishing and abundant backcountry beauty. Photo courtesy North Fork Anglers.

For my adventurous but scatterbrained sister – A pack of thermal socks from one of our sporting goods stores – all still in pairs with their sock mates safety pinned together in the hopes that this is the year she manages to make Read More


Don’t Look Now, But it’s December

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

Last winter was the snowiest in Cody/Yellowstone Country in more than 40 years and while it brought many challenges, it was great to get the much needed moisture.

The long-range forecast is saying we can expect more than our average of 43-45 inches of snow because of the warm weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean. I always get El Nina and La Nino mixed up, but I know it’s one or the other. If Dan Miller would write a song explaining the differences, however, I would never be confused again. I wish he would get on it.

Out here we seldom complain about snow. Because our air is so often dry with sporadic rain showers that swoop in quickly and then move one before we know it, we welcome moisture in whatever form shows up. More than 100 years ago our town founder pushed for – and received – federal funds and assistance to construct the Shoshone Dam (later renamed the Buffalo Bill Dam) so that Shoshone River water could be captured and used for irrigation of crops in the region.

There is a saying in the West that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Just slap on Read More


Climb Every…Waterfall?

November 13th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

 Everybody knows that Cody/Yellowstone Country is about rodeo (every night in June, July and August), history (Buffalo Bill Cody founded our town, for gosh sakes) and handsome cowboy musicians (you know to whom I refer). It’s the things that catch people by surprise, however, that truly make my day.

Let’s talk about ice climbing.

That’s right, we do not have to go far to find the largest concentration of frozen waterfalls in the continental United States. The region surrounding the South Fork of the Shoshone River holds that distinction.

More than a couple of these bumper stickers have been spotted around town.

Plenty of people here in northwest Wyoming do not even realize just how good our ice climbing is. Sure, they have seen their share of people pulling into town in their Subarus and bumper stickers showing off various national parks and adrenaline-inducing activities. They usually know more about the various frozen ascents than I do.

This brings up some questions.

Why do we have so many frozen waterfalls?

When you think about that giant caldera to the west of us, it starts to make sense. Our region is comprised of porous volcanic soil that allows for easy water seepage. The mountains receive large amounts Read More


Working Off that Extra Halloween Candy

November 6th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Most people know that I am a huge fan of the important national holidays like Christmas, Independence Day, Gene Autry’s birthday and the wedding anniversary of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

My favorite holiday, however, might be Halloween. In fact, I have developed a strategy that helps me unwind as our peak tourist season passes and we welcome cooler temperatures. Instead of a big bag of the usual miniaturized candy bars to pass out, I look for something that makes a statement. This year I found packages of candy shaped like horseshoes, cowboy boots, hats and spurs.

Who wouldn’t want a bag full of this Halloween candy?

Thinking that word would get out that I was passing out the coolest candy ever and that kids from all over town would descend upon my house, I figure I should get a little extra this year. Unfortunately, I seemed to be the only person who appreciates the incredible effort it takes to track down these delicacies on the Internet and have 23 bags shipped to my house.

I miscalculated slightly and ended up with about 19 extra bags. And that’s on top of the chocolate boots I bought and didn’t even intend to give away Read More


The Mystery of Mummy Joe

October 30th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments(1)

Everyone loves a good mystery, especially this time of the year when goblins, zombies and witches wander every American street with abandon. Weirdness is everywhere, and we embrace it, usually with fun-size candy bars and skeletons on our lawns.

That’s what got me to thinking about one of Cody/Yellowstone Country’s very own mysteries, the mummified, cave-dwelling 1,200-year-old remains of a man, who we fondly call “Mummy Joe.” The cave is hidden in plain sight, just a short hike from the highway.

Sixty years ago, Cody resident Gene Smith discovered a cave north of the Shoshone River in Wapiti Valley. Archaeologists later concluded it was not really a cave; it was a massive nearly enclosed overhang of a high volcanic cliff. But why dicker over semantics when there’s a mummy involved?

Mummy Cave is hidden in plain site along Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway in Wapiti Valley.

The discovery was remarkable for many reasons and archaeologists, historians and preservationists studied the remains as well as other materials found in the cave, such as wood, feathers, the remains of bighorn sheep and other large animals, wood and hide.

Bob Edgar was one of the first people to excavate and seriously study Mummy Cave.

Here’s what we know Read More


The Friendly Ghosts of the Irma Hotel

October 24th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

The Irma Hotel is one of the most recognizable buildings on Sheridan Ave., and most tourists and many locals stop at the remarkable 115-year-old hotel to watch the nightly Wild Bunch Gunfighters in the summer, enjoy the hotel’s famous prime rib dinner buffet, admire the room-long Cherrywood bar that was gifted to Buffalo Bill by England’s Queen Victoria and shop in the hotel’s awesome Emporium.

The Irma Hotel is one of Cody’s most recognizable landmarks, and nearly everyone who visits town stops at the historic hotel.

According to some believers, tourists and locals aren’t the only ones observing all the fun at the hotel that Buffalo Bill Cody built and named for his daughter Irma. The Irma Hotel, they say, is home to friendly ghosts, who float through the halls, hang out in a few of the rooms, make mischief in the dining room and – in their best Hogwarts imitation – float in and out of a photograph on the wall of the dining room.

Buffalo Bill Cody built the Irma Hotel and named it for his daughter in 1902.

Let me be clear; I don’t know what to think. While the Practical Corrie is convinced there is always a rational Read More


Home Sweet Crazy Home

October 10th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

In just a few weeks, many people in Cody/Yellowstone Country will become zombified. Even the sweet faces of innocent little children will begin appearing around town with blood dripping from their foreheads as they cling to the guiding hands of grown-ups, attired in bloody, shredded apparel.

Scary, crazy decorations are appearing at homes throughout town.

I love this time of year, and not just the candy and costumes. As adults, teens, kids and infants embrace their First Amendment right to express their inner wacko, Halloween is a reminder that a little quirk can be good for the soul.

Kids and grownups alike embrace their quirky sides as they don costumes for trick-or-treating in downtown Cody.

Perhaps that’s what Lee Smith thought 44 years ago when he began building a multi-story log house in wildlife-rich Wapiti Valley by hand, a process that lasted until he fell to his death from the roof in 1992 at the age of 48. We locals have many names for that lonely, decrepit house – the Smith Mansion and Pagoda House are the kindest references. Some people just call it the Crazy House.

Buffalo Bill, whose entire life was quirky, would have liked the Crazy House.

Anyone who drives Read More


The Art of Cody Yellowstone Country

October 5th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Earlier this month, nearly 700 people from around the United States gathered in a huge tent on a cold, rainy autumn evening to view – and buy – some of the best new Western artwork in the country. And in the process, they raised more than $1 million to support the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the Cody Chamber of Commerce.

The Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, sponsored by the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the Cody Chamber of Commerce is the biggest fundraising event of the year in Cody.

Patrons from all over the country don their finest Western attire, which like the art they come to purchase, is a feast for the eyes. Ladies in luxurious fringe and glittering jewels and men in their best bolos gathered under a heated tent outside the Center of the West to peruse the crown jewels of the Western art world.

There were big paintings and small paintings, bronze reliefs and sculptures, watercolors and pencil drawings. They were created by artists from around the country who share a common passion for all things Western. The patrons in attendance were in a generous mood.

Always ready to support the advancement of Cody Read More


Winter is Coming. Let’s Layer Up and Go...

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

 Last week the National Park Service briefly closed some park roads due to snowy conditions. That same day, I dug my ice scraper out of the back of my Subaru so I could clear my windshield of early-morning frost. And then I went fishing.

In some parts of the country, the months of September and October are a reliable extension of summer, with warm temperatures, sunshine and a continuation of summer adventures. And to a certain degree that’s also true here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.

Most days during the fall months are mild and pleasant. We usually see some snow, but it typically doesn’t hang around too long. There are still plenty of days left for outdoor adventures like fishing, golfing and hiking. As long as you wear the right stuff.

Golfers like to get in a few more rounds before packing away their clubs for winter. The Olive Glen Golf Course is located right in town.

There’s an old Norwegian saying: “there’s no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing.” Anyone who lives in Yellowstone Country knows this is true. This time of year, we keep those base layers, wool socks and water-resistant pants handy. But we also keep much Read More


An Elk Encounter in Yellowstone Country

September 19th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments(1)

I heard my first bugle yesterday.

As I sometimes do when I can’t sleep, I took an early-morning drive to Buffalo Bill State Park just west of town and sat at a picnic table near the parking lot to await the sunrise. Watching Yellowstone Country awaken somehow energizes me, and when I see the sun rise above the water I know that my day is off to a great start.

Except for the occasional car or truck heading west towards Yellowstone on the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, I was alone with my latte. I could see slight ripples in the water and hear a light wind rustling the sagebrush. The quiet sounds of an autumn morning in Yellowstone Country were breached – quite jarringly – by a male elk. I didn’t see him in the dawn light at first. But I certainly heard him.

As Corrie discovered, elk are often most active at dawn and dusk.

His bugle started as sort of a low-octave whistle, but it quickly escalated to a high-pitched squeal. It is a sound that is wild, grating and not particularly pleasant, particularly when you’re still on your first coffee of the day. It’s not meant to be a pleasant Read More