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The Lessons of Heart Mountain

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

If you have a chance, I highly recommend tracking down a Today Show segment by Tom Brokaw about the Heart Mountain World War II Interpretive Center and the relationship between former congressman and cabinet member Norman Mineta and our own Alan Simpson, former U.S. Senator.

Please allow me to summarize.

This year we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, signed Feb. 19, 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This order resulted in more than 100,000 citizens of Japanese heritage being incarcerated in various prison camps throughout the West.

Located 14 miles northeast of Cody, Heart Mountain was home to some 14,000 people between August 1942 and November 1945.

Arriving primarily from California and Washington, these incarcerated Americans were clustered in small, rapidly built quarters after being forced from their homes. As a result, they lost their homes, jobs, businesses and most of their possessions. They came with only what they could carry, and they had no idea how long they would be confined. They lived their lives, created a community, established life-long friendships, and more than 800 of them joined the military and fought for the country that had stripped them of their freedom.

Among those citizens at Heart Mountain was a Read More

Packing Your Patience

August 28th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

You might have heard there was a total solar eclipse the other day.

We here in Wyoming were fortunate to have a huge portion of our state smack dab in the middle of this event, and believe me, it did not disappoint. If I had my way, we would do this every day in the summer. Sort of like our Cody Nite Rodeo which operates from June 1 through August 31.

Wyoming was well-positioned for the eclipse.

Here in Cody we “only” had 98 percent obscuration, and the show was incredible. As much as I enjoyed watching the moon pass in front of the sun – using my approved glasses which I picked up at our visitor center – what really got to me was the number of people who just stopped what they were doing to walk outside and enjoy this experience. Locals and tourists chatting each other up is nothing out of the ordinary, but there were so many of us that I will be shocked if I ever see many people in our town shaking hands and putting aside their cares at the same time.

My friends inside Yellowstone National Park tell me they saw similar scenes with bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go Read More

Nature-lovers, let’s learn a new word: yugen

August 22nd, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I was pleased to see a recent Expedia story that indicated Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is the best place in the great state of Wyoming for a nature-lovers. The article cited Yellowstone Country’s “horse trails, camping, biking and rock climbing” that are within easy reach of Cody as well nearby Yellowstone, “bursting with natural wonders, from Old Faithful geyser to Yellowstone Lake.”

If you live in Cody or have visited for even a few days, you know this. If you visit the Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin late on a winter night when there is no one else there except for a lumbering bison illuminated by stars and crunching through the crusty snow in the woods, you know this.

Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country was named the best spot in Wyoming for nature-lovers.

If you join a small-group trail ride along the North Fork of the Shoshone River and spot a moose and calf in the brush on the south side of the riverbank, you know this.

Watching a moose and calf wander through the willow flats is a moment of yugen for Corrie

You also know this if you and your friends backpack to a special spot on the South Fork of the Shoshone Read More

The Grownup Pleasures of Yellowstone...

August 14th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

Before you accuse me of not loving kids, I will state for the record that I adore seeing kids in Yellowstone Country. Every time I see school-age kids roaming the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, I am reminded of a child’s pure curiosity. Whenever I watch kids try to catch the calf at the Cody Nite Rodeo, I am invigorated by their enthusiasm. But sometimes, I just want to have a quiet cocktail in the company of other adults.

That’s why I’m ready for “Secret Season” in Yellowstone Country.

During this period, the make-up of visitors to Cody changes. Half-way through the month of August, we notice fewer families departing Cowtown Candy Company with bags of fudge and caramel corn. And there are noticeably fewer kids participating in the Calf Scramble at the Cody Nite Rodeo. By the end of August, families have largely disappeared, no doubt with their attention once again on school supplies, summer reading lists and the beginning of soccer practice.

The Secret Season is not only transformative because there are fewer kids and more adults, particularly adults of empty nesting age. Some mornings, there’s a slight chill in the air. Our wildlife seems to be a little restless. Read More

Sam Shepard, One of Cody’s Own

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

The first time I went to see the movie The Right Stuff I only went because my friends roped me into it.

“Have you ever known me to be interested in astronauts?” I asked in my most emphatic voice.

“No,” was the response. “But we think you will like this film and we’ll pay for your ticket if you aren’t satisfied after the first half hour or so.”

The movie started out fine with some terrific acting and directing, but I certainly wasn’t thinking this was how I wanted to spend three hours. Since it was February, I was imaging myself cross country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling or fly fishing.

Then about 20 minutes in Sam Shepard and Barbara Hershey, playing the parts of Chuck and Glennis Yeager, decided to go horseback riding, and I was hooked.

Sam Shepard and Barbara Hershey as Chuck and Glennis Yeager in The Right Stuff.

While my friends were trying not to laugh at me, I was on the edge of my seat as the couple took off into the high desert after leaving the bar where the test pilots spent their evenings. And when Sam – we were on a first-name basis by then – hit a Joshua Read More

Where to View the Total Solar Eclipse in...

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

Where will you be at 10:19 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21? That’s the day of the total solar eclipse, and unless you’ve been living in a cave you probably know that the state of Wyoming is in the viewing hot spot, since the eclipse’s path of totality passes through the state’s central region.

Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is north of that path, but my hometown of Cody is still a great place to see this rare event, with only 98.05 percent obscuration. In other words, Cody will be a pretty darn good place to see this rare astral event.

Wyoming is in the path of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. Although Cody is just a little north of the path of totality, there will still be spectacular viewing opportunities.

I am planning to ditch work that day and watch the event with a group of friends. When we stopped by to purchase our special eclipse glasses from the Cody Visitor Center, we asked the knowledgeable folks there for some ideas on where in Cody to go for the best viewing. They gave us a bunch of ideas, and we’re continuing to mull our options.

One place we’re considering is Beck Read More

Making Time for Fun in Buffalo Bill’s...

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

There is so much going on in Yellowstone Country during the late summer and fall, this cowgirl is going to have to do some serious prioritizing. With scribbles in the margins, blacked-out dates and notes-to-self like “don’t miss,” “must do,” and “top priority,” practically every weekend day for the next two months, I am going to have to make some hard decisions.

Here’s an example. During the last weekend in July, there are three major events that I want to experience, and only two days to do it. Marked on my calendar as a “don’t miss,” the annual Heart Mountain Pilgrimage July 28-30 is close to my heart. Each year the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation invites historians, authors and other experts to participate in insightful panel discussions that reflect the significance of the site where 14,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during World War II. There are also documentaries and exhibits. How can I miss that?

This year’s Heart Mountain Pilgrimage will feature the work of artist Roger Shimomura.

That same weekend, the “must do” Historic Pitchfork Ranch Tour explores the Pitchfork Ranch – a historically and biologically significant ranch in the Greybull River Basin where The Nature Conservancy worked with the owners to Read More

Big Adventures in a Tiny Home as...

July 17th, 2017 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I want to be Quin Schrock. At least for the next six weeks. Quin Schrock is an adventurous California photographer who is traveling around Wyoming in a tiny home on wheels. He is documenting his adventures as part of a special State of Wyoming promotion called “Call of the WY.” (Clever, huh?)

He is a week or so into his adventure, which is taking him from Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country in the northwest corner of Wyoming to other parts of the state, including Wind River Country, Sweetwater Country, Pinedale and many places along the way.

California photographer Quin Schrock answered the “Call of the WY,” a state of Wyoming promotion that is taking him to Cody and other places in the state so he can document his adventures.

Cody/Yellowstone Country is his first stop, and since arriving in the region he has already explored Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. He posted an entertaining video of his visit to the Cody Nite Rodeo.

The Cody Nite Rodeo was one of his first adventures. He said it reminded him of an epic road trip he took with his family when he was young.

While on the road, Quin is living in a mobile 265-square-foot Read More

They’re Guidelines, Not Rules

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

There’s a certain rhythm in Cody as late spring turns into summer.

In April and May as tourism starts to build with empty nesters and home schoolers making their way into and through town, I can feel the anticipation building as our seasonal attractions like the Nite Rodeo and chuckwagon dinners open and year-round operations see business pick up.

I see more unfamiliar faces and hear various languages as the summer workforce is supplemented by both American and international employees looking for experiences as much as they are seeking work. Over the years I have grown to know countless people who answered ads in some faraway place to come spend the summer working in our darn near perfect corner of Wyoming.

This season has been hopping, and the energy level has been great, but the end of June means the Cody Stampede and Fourth of July are upon us. That means more professional rodeo cowboys, live music in our downtown honkytonks, a couple of parades and guests in our houses. More people who have moved away show up for this weekend than they do for Christmas would be my guess.

Families really start to show up in June and keep us hopping all the Read More

Celebrating Our Country’s Birthday with...

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

I am lucky enough to live in a town that stages one of the best July 4 celebrations around. I tell my out-of-town friends that July 4 is so big around here that it takes five days to celebrate it. The capstone event – after days of parades, music, fairs and all-around fun – is the Cody Stampede Fireworks display.

The Cody Stampede fireworks cap off five days of July 4th celebrations that also include PRCA-sanctioned rodeo events, parades, music and festivals.

It won’t be long now before I find myself once again in the stands at the Cody Stampede awaiting Cody’s version of the world’s biggest simultaneous display of pyrotechnics. The stands will be packed, and I’ll be surrounded by my friends, each of us garishly adorned in red, white and blue clothing, accessories and face paint.

Locals and visitors alike line Sheridan Avenue to watch the Cody Stampede parades.

If any of my fashionista friends are appalled, I will remind them that they have John Adams to blame. Yes, that John Adams. Our country’s second president, famous pen pal to Thomas Jefferson and inspiration for a catchy song in the Broadway musical “1776.” (“Sit down, John! Sit down, John! For Read More