Day 15: Through the Bighorn National Forest

Saturday morning our road trip continued from Sheridan further west on route 14 up over the Bighorn mountains through many hairpin bends and with the most fantastic views over the valley. We went higher and higher till the air got cooler – as low as 56 deg. Fahrenheit – with a dry wind.

Bighorn Mountains
Bighorn Mountains

When we came to the Medicine Mountain we drove up a small road to see the so-called  Medicine Wheel, a large wheel patterne made with stones, which the Indians have made. No one knows exactly how old it is, maybe 250-800 years, and no one knows exactly what it means / apart from it being sacred to the Indians. Around the wheel was a wooden fence to which present day Indians had tied prayer rags, feathers and other tokens. The wheel is right at the top of the mountain and the narrow road up there was closed to traffic. As my left knee has been giving me problems during part of our trip I decided to stay in the parking lot and let Ole walk the 1.5 mile up to the wheel. But the two kind rangers felt sorry for me and let me drive our car up the road anyway, so that I got to see it as well.

Back down from the Medicine Mountain we continued over the Bighorn Mountains – again through many hairpin turns and with incredible views. Early afternoon we arrived at the house of our next hosts, Deborah (called Deb) and Dan, who live just outside Cody with a view of fields and mountains as well as deer and semi-wild turkeys + their horses and four dogs. Deb teaches at the local high school, and so did Dan until he retired. They both like riding, especially in wild inaccessible areas of Wyoming, and Dan likes to hunt (mostly with a bow and arrows) both here and in Africa where they love to go on holiday.

The View from Deb and Dan's house outside Cody
The View from Deb and Dan’s house outside Cody

When we had unloaded our things we all went into Cody, where Deb and Dan would like to show us the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a big, very nice new museum with several collections. We started with the exhibition about William Cody, known as Buffalo Bill, himself, who founded the city and gave it his name. Cody lived an extraordinary life, in which he was a soldier, worked for the Pony Express and shot buffalos for the workers building the railroad across America. But most famous is he for his Wild West shows which he toured all over the States and Europe with. Later he came here and founded the city and brought the first tourists to the area. The museum also had a fine natural history collection with many of the animals from the area, and here Dan could tell a lot of interesting things about the various animals. Fortunately our tickets were for two-day admissions, so we decided to go home and then come back the following day to see the rest of the museum. Deb and Dan made a delicious dinner, barbecued elk steak, corn on the cob and a salad.

After dinner we went to the Cody Nite Rodeo which is held every night during the summer here. It was great fun watching the ropers – cowboys trying to lassoe a calf, jump off their horse and tie the calf’s hind legs – and as fast as possible of course. There were various other competitions, one in which some young girls (some of whom where VERY young) rode in figure eights round some barrels, and they did considerably better than the cowboys trying to stay on the back of a bull – most of them were thrown off after just a few seconds. In the interval all the children in the audience was invited down to the arena for a “calf scramble” – they were lined up in a long row and two calves with flags on their tails were sent in. The two children to get hold of the flags got a prize.

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