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.
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 to anyone who was not either related or considered one of my closest friends.
Now that I have enough leftover candy to make my jeans too tight and my horse nervous when I saddle up, I need to kick my exercise regimen into a higher gear. Either that or skip Thanksgiving leftovers, and that’s never going to happen.
Here’s my plan to work off the candy and be ready for turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and squash.
Next Saturday I will head up the North Fork of the Shoshone River about 37 miles and hike to Blackwater Natural Bridge. This natural arch is estimated between 70 and 100 feet tall and is located at an elevation of 10,777 feet. Natural arches (some people call them natural bridges) formed when creeks eroded the softer rock and left harder layers above. It’s a cool phenomenon, and we are fortunate to have many examples here in the West.
Depending upon where I pick up the trail, my hike will be 14-18 miles roundtrip with enough elevation gains to work off some of that candy. I will make a day of it by packing a healthy lunch with plenty of water. Finding hiking companions is relatively easy when you live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
I will be watching the scale, and if I need to make multiple trips, no problem. I would hike the trail even if my sweet tooth didn’t have a mind of its own.
Along the way I will also stop and quietly honor 15 firefighters who were killed fighting the Blackwater fire of 1937. This was the worst loss of life of firefighters in the history of Wyoming and one of the worst in the country.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and trying to get back into my horse’s good graces – in Cody, Wyo.