The East Gate of Yellowstone opened May 5 and the NE Gate opened May 12. This past Sunday we took a drive through the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, 15 miles north of Cody, and then through Cooke City to Silver Gate and the NE entrance. Our first stop was a picnic lunch along the Soda Butte Creek. Then on through Lamar Valley to Tower Junction and then to Mammoth. The day showed us so many sights and animals. A day in the Park is a always a day to remember.
The Indian Paintbrush was designated the Wyoming State flower in 1917. It is also called Prairie Fire. These pictures were taken along Highway 120 north of Cody on my way to work. The Absaroka and Beartooth Mountain ranges are in the background. A stunning display of color.
Soapweed yucca is a Great Plains species native to Wyoming. The lance-like leaves are stiff, coarse, and sharp but worth the blood-letting for the tall spikes of whitish pendulant flowers. Yuccas don’t bloom every year, but some years are phenomenal. Because of the shape of the flower, pollination can be accomplished by only a single species of insect, the yucca moth. Female yucca moths lay eggs in the ovary and then deliberately pack pollen on the stigma. The growing moth larvae eat the developing seeds but usually not all of them. Before the fruits open to disperse seeds, the caterpillar chews its way out and drops to the ground, where it buries itself, spins a cocoon, and waits out the winter. In the spring, the moths emerge just as the yucca blooms and wait at the flowers to find a mate. In our area, the Yucca tend to bloom about every 3 years. It is a spectacular site. (information from University of Wyoming Extension)
The afternoon of a 3 day storm, it finally moved out and sun began to shine and left us with a beautiful phenomenon. A ‘snowbow’! Or more scientifically know as a ‘sun dog’, ‘mock sun’ or ‘phantom sun’. It is a occurrence not seen often and it usually happens when the sun is close to the horizon. The bright spots occur on both sides of the sun, usually in pairs. Life in Wyoming is an adventure!
The Absoraka Mountains, Beartooth Mountains, Shoshone National Forest, and Bighorn Basin that surround Cody are prime locations for hunting this fall. This area is renowned for its variety of wildlife, including some of the area’s best big game hunting opportunities. In this picturesque area, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, bison, mule and whitetail deer, mountain goat, antelope, black bear, and even wolves can be scoped and targeted.
The area has an abundance of animals like whitetail and mule deer and pronghorn antelope; in fact, Wyoming has more antelope (specifically, the North American pronghorn) than anywhere on the continent. Mule deer are also the state’s most populous and sought-after deer. These graceful and agile deer can be found in the mountains or creek beds, so hunters have a variety of backdrops from which to choose when hunting mule deer.
However, the state has a limit for hunting animals like bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and bison. Receiving a bighorn sheep tag is comparable to winning the lottery; the odds in a random draw are typically less than 1 percent, and once a hunter receives this license, he or she must wait five years to re-apply. Similarly, drawing for a mountain goat tag requires a lot of luck, and hunting either of these animals requires a person to hike or climb in high elevations and often steep terrain. In order to hunt bison in Wyoming, hunters have to apply for placement on the bison priority list.
Mountain lions are also hunted from September through early spring, and the fall and spring seasons are also open for black bear hunting. For both of these animals, though, only one lion or bear can be “harvested” by a hunter during any calendar year.
Finally, upland and migratory game birds like the various grouse species (sage, ruffed, etc.), turkeys, pheasants, geese, and duck (just to name a few) can be hunted, as well.
Outfitters can provide expert advice for hunting in the area, and there are many outfitters in and around Cody. For a full list of hunting outfitters and guides, check out http://codychamber.chambermaster.com/list/Category/outfitters-guides-133.htm.
For more information about hunting regulations or to apply for a hunting license in Wyoming, go to http://gf.state.wy.us or call the Cody BLM Field office at (307) 578-5900.May 102016
The renowned Beartooth Highway (Highway 212), is a 65-mile route over the Beartooth Mountains with the Beartooth Pass at 10,947 feet, The Beartooth Mountains are some of the planet’s oldest rock with some dating at nearly four billion years. The highway, itself, is the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The Beartooths are home to over 300 pristine lakes and waterfalls, some 300 feet. The name of the mountain range comes from a rugged granite peak that has the shape of a bear’s tooth. Our drive starts on the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, then up and over the Beartooth Highway.