Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The 33rd Annual Plains Indian Museum Powwow

Saturday - June 21, 2014

There are four sacred colors
The East is white, the color of dawn. 
The South is blue, the color of the sky overhead at noon.
The West is red, the color if the setting sun. 
And the North is black, the color of night. 

The Powwow brings together Native dancers, drum groups, families, and artisans to share the Native cultures of the Great Plains.

Grand Entry ushers all participants into the powwow arena at noon and 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, and at noon on Sunday, Jun 22. After a welcome and opening prayer, host drum Arapaho Nation from Arapahoe, Wyoming, sing flag and victory songs. Competitive dancing begins after the posting of flags by color guard Apsáalooke Nation Guard from Crow Agency, Montana. Arena Director is Charlie White Buffalo, and Master of Ceremonies Robert “Corky” Old Horn announces from the stage and makes it easy for visitors to follow the action.

Dancers range in age from tiny tots (children under 6) to golden age (adults 55 and older). Dance categories include traditional, grass, and fancy for men and boys; and traditional, fancy shawl, and jingle for women and girls. This year’s specials include gourd dancing, tiny tots, women’s fancy shawl, men’s traditional, men’s chicken dance, and team dancing.

Tiny Tot dancer

I arrived around 11:00 to walk around the vendor booths and to watch the dancers preparing for the Grand Entry. I had to work at 2:00, so I was only able to stay for the Grand Entry and did not see any of the competitive dancing. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Devil Canyon Overlook

Thursday - June 26, 2014

Horseshoe Bend Campground is a beautiful place and I could have stayed another night, but I decided to venture out and see what else was in the area. It was a lazy morning and I left the campsite around 11:00.

Pulling out of the campground, I headed north up the canyon to Devil Canyon Overlook, I had crossed over into Montana.

The road ends at Barry's Landing and you can't travel further into Montana from this point, you need to head back south into Wyoming to exit the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

It was a cloudy morning - the colors are much brighter than these photos show.
The water is very green and still, there are no water birds anywhere in this area. 

There are several pull-outs along this road to view the surrounding rock formations and for the hope of a glimpse at wild horses, I probably should have headed north to the end of the road and the 2nd campground at Barry's Landing, but I think I will be back to this area before I leave Wyoming.  I did not see any horses or bighorn sheep today,

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mouth of the Canyon Trail

Wednesday - June 25, 2014

I headed out to the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in the morning hoping to get a campsite (they do not take reservations).

The campground is 12 miles from Highway 14A.  It is a great drive even if you do not get a site. The visitor center is in the town of Lovell,  but they were paving the parking lot so I was not able to stop to pick up any maps or brochures. There is a $5.00 daily fee to enter the area or you can use a Federal Parks Pass.

There are two campgrounds in this area and I stayed at Horseshoe Bend Campground. The sites are very large and they now have 19 sites with electric and water for a fee of $15.00, the other sites are free.

Horseshoe Bend is a place to go if you like boating, or if you just want a quiet place to getaway. There is no cell service or wi-fi, but I was able to get a weak signal at the top of the canyon to send a message to my daughter with my location.

While circling around the campground loops to pick out a site, I noticed a sign for a short hike. After I got settled in my site and ate lunch, I decided to walk this trail.

The trail starts out on a service road and then you follow a path to the edge of the canyon. When you get to the middle of the trail there is a beautiful view of the water at the bottom of the canyon. It is a circular trail that crosses over itself at a few points, or you can just do an out and back hike. There are not many trees and the trees that are here are short and provide no shade. If you decide to walk this trail, make sure you wear a hat and bring along some water. (Yes, I did both, it is very hot and dry here)

View from the overlook at the center of the trail.

Later in the day I walked down to the marina, there is a small store and a large playground and a swimming beach. There were 2 people fishing from the shore, I did not see anyone else around this area. I wonder if this place is busy on weekends.

It started to rain while I was at the beach area
I walked fast back to the RV
and we had a heavy rain from 8pm to 9pm
lots of wind, rain and lightning.

It was still light out after the rain and I took a short walk around the campground loop hoping for some sunset pictures, there was a lot of lightning far away behind the mountains NE of where I was. I took a bunch of pictures but could not capture the lightning show. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cody Rodeo

Wednesday - June 11, 2014

Every night - in June July, August - there is a Rodeo in Cody
For the 4th of July they host the Cody Stampede Rodeo

There are the usual cast of characters of a rodeo:
 bulls, horses, rodeo clown and cowboys and cowgirls.

This is a fun, small town rodeo with lots of kidding and joking between the announcer and the rodeo clown but also some serious bull-riding and bucking broncos. 

Cowgirl - Barrel Racing

As a seasonal employee in Cody, we can purchase an annual pass to the Rodeo for $10. A season pass has a value of $100 and a one day ticket is $20 - a good deal for us.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flag Day

 June 14, 1777, The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act.

Cody, Wyoming

"These flags are posted as a temporary reminder of what has been sacrificed, what we have to be grateful for, and what we live for as Americans.  We invite you to walk the Field of Honor and reflect on what these flags symbolize.  Each flag is posted with care and precision, and each visitor has his or her own special experiences. Please show proper respect."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day 3 - Leaving Yellowstone - heading back to work

Friday - May 30, 2014
Time to get back to work, to help fund my travels.

It was cold this morning, 36 degrees. I didn't get moving as early as I wanted. The sun was shining and I was waiting for things to warm up a little.

The only stop I made on the way out of the park today was at the Fishing Bridge Visitors Center. This is an older, log building with exhibits of animals and birds. Walk out the back door of the Visitors Center and there is Lake Yellowstone, with a sandy beach.  I walked along the beach for awhile, taking pictures then sat at a picnic table for a little while. I will definitely go back to spend some time on this beach during the summer.

This icy lake reminded me of the Great Lakes, except for the mountains in the background. 

Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone to the East Entrance

I stopped for a few minutes at Lake Butte Overlook

The drive to the East Entrance is very scenic, a lot of thermal activity, there are steam vents all along the side of the lake. Then you cross over Sylvan Pass with lots of switchbacks on the way down. Just put it in 2nd gear and coast down, with clear roads and some snowbanks lingering on the side of the road.

After reaching the park gate, it is another hour driving through the Shoshone Forest and Buffalo Bill State Park, then passing by Buffalo Bill Dam and through some tunnels and finally into Cody. Total drive from Fishing Bridge Campground to Buffalo Bill Village was about 2 1/2 hours.

The great thing is that I didn't use much fuel - traveling from 7783' to 4997'.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yellowstone - Day 2

Thursday - May 29, 2014

Today I went on a tour of the southern part of Yellowstone. I drove all day yesterday and decided to let someone else do the driving today.  We were on a small bus and there were only 11 of us and the driver.

The tour is the "Circle of Fire" and well worth the $74 dollars, I would have probably spent that much in gas driving around in the RV all day. The driver/guide picked us up at the campground. The tour was scheduled from 9:15 am to 6:00 pm, but we didn't return to the campground until 7:00.  We had a great driver/guide, he was very knowledgeable of Yellowstone. The amount of information was amazing.

There were many stops along the way, we walked on the boardwalks and a few short trails.
I logged 7 1/2 miles for the day on my LifeTrak pedometer/watch.

The first stop was at Lake Yellowstone Hotel.
The weather today was cooler, but it was a bright sunny day. 

Some areas of the lake are 410' deep - Elevation 7783'
 There was still ice on the lake, it was starting to break up and flow down the river.

I would like to go back and stay at the Bridge Bay campground
and go on a boat tour of the Lake

Our next stop was the "West Thumb Geyser Basin" to see the pretty blue thermal pools.

The color of the pools is determined by the temperature,
if the water is not hot enough, the algae will grow 
and the pools will start to get an orange looking color.

After the West Thumb area we headed towards Old Faithful.
We drove over the continental divide two times on the road between West Thumb and Old Faithful.
There was still some snow on the side of the road.

There were many stops along the road on our way from one area to the next main feature.
 We stopped to take pictures of the animals and other interesting features of the park.

We arrived at Old Faithful around 12:50, waiting for Old Faithful to go off around 1:10
and then we had lunch before boarding the bus again at 2:00.

As we were leaving the parking lot of Old Faithful, we saw "Castle Geyser" going off,
 this one is not as predictable as Old Faithful, so it was an unexpected sighting.

There are four types of thermal features:
 steam vents, mud pots, geysers and hot springs.

The "Fountain Paint Pot" area is north of Old Faithful

Violet-green swallow

As we drove from area to area, our guide pointed out some side roads and places
that we should visit in the future. He said some roads were not suitable for trailers and large RV's.

We drove through Madison and Norris to our last big stop of the day...
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Upper and Lower Falls.

We then drove south through Hayden Valley to return to Fishing Bridge Campground.

There was a last minute quick stop at the bridge to watch the ice breaking up.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

I've seen many bison and a few elk.
I will need to go back because I want to see
the bears and wolves.

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It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb