Stop #13 – Unlucky for American Bison

Cody, Wyoming, becomes our mid-morning stop after leaving Yellowstone. Situated at the western foothills of the Big Horn Mountains (my favorite), Cody was a late nineteenth century trail stop and had somewhat of a wild west notoriety and a genuine ghost town is preserved on the town’s outskirts,. It is named after “Buffalo Bill” Cody whose reputation as a buffalo hunter went unsurpassed in western annals.

Cody in relation to Yellowstone as we head back east – a little hump north to Billings, Montana, and then south to just above the “Montana” inscription which is the sight of Custer’s Last Stand. Camp out will be between Sheridan and Buffalo along the shores of Lake DeSmet.
Modern Cody – not so wild.
Once wild Cody.

The foothills of the Big Horns are relatively dry on the Cody side whereas the more moist eastern side sports extensive forests of Lodgepole and Ponderosa Pine. The Cloud Peak Wilderness area covers the upper elevations and the Seven Sisters string of glacial lakes was a destination for me in a brisk January many decades ago.

The Seven Sisters Lakes from the top of Ant Hill.

I also participated in a November Elk hunt in the vicinity of Ant Hill – a huge glacial moraine from glaciers past. I had a bull elk in my sights but I was so fascinated with its stature and royal bearing, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Not so – Buffalo Bill!

Panorama of the western foothills of the Big Horn Mountains – dry and treeless,
In contrast to the forested eastern side of the Big Horns… Cloud Peak at the top and Ant Hill at the upper right.

The Buffalo Bill Western Museum is today’s destination where you can get a glimpse of a world long gone. Prospectors, buffalo hunters, “wild” Indians, unrestricted gamblers, unsavory characters of every description roamed the muddy streets and “take your chances” bars.

Hopefully, we can devote some time strolling the grounds of the Buffalo Bill Western Museum.

Quite a change from the natural wonders of the national parks, but this touch of culture past is just what we need to transition to the third phase of our trip. This afternoon, we will virtually visit the demise of General George Custer – hero of the Civil War and goat of Custer’s Last Stand. Overnight camping will be at the foot of the eastern foothills of the Big Horns and, weather permitting, we can watch the sun ripple down the peaks and crags of the lofty mountains.

We can only imagine the last moments of George Custer and his patrol. This is our mid afternoon destination.

Thanks for journeying with us! Spectacular scenery and “Gold in them thar hills” awaits us in coming days!

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