Irrigation in Wyoming

26 March, 2018

Around Park County, this time of the year brings residents and visitors many scents of the season, including blooming flowers, fresh rain… and smoke.

This is the time that many farmers and ranchers begin to burn their lands to make the soil riper for the upcoming planting season. Additionally, burning is a common way to clean out irrigation ditches that have had seasons of waste and weeds build up in them.

Irrigation is the key to our area’s ability to provide a healthy crop supply every year. As early (and even recent!) settlers of Wyoming quickly discovered, the arid lands of this area needed more than the 6-10 inches of rain to complete a crop. Construction of the Buffalo Bill Dam (six miles west of Cody) was necessary to bring water to the near 90,000 acres of dry, northwestern Wyoming.

Early settlers dreamed of implementing the canal and ditch techniques perfected in Europe thousands of years earlier to channel water to the area. In 1910, the 325-foot-heigh dam and its contained Buffalo Bill Reservoir were completed, as well as the rest of the Shoshone Project, which included a system of canals, tunnels, and diversion dams that continue to irrigate more than 93,000 acres of beans, alfalfa, sugar beets, and other crops.

Because of this complex system, farmers and ranchers had to quickly secure their irrigation water rights, and these rights remain important to today’s home and/or land buyers, as well.

Keep in mind that if you are buying property in this area that will require irrigating, there are many legal responsibilities to consider with your water rights. These responsibilities include (and are NOT limited to) digging and constructing drain ditches, sharing water with nearby land owners, and caring for your runoff water.

For more information about water rights and documents, contact your local UW Extension Office or Patrick T. Tyrrell, the Wyoming State Engineer, at seoleg@seo.wyo.gov or (307) 777-6475. The Department of Environmental Quality ((307) 777-7781), your local County Health Departments, and the National Resources Conservation Service (with the USDA) will have information about water quality, and your City or County Planning Office will inform you about any city or county zoning restrictions.

If you are building your home on irrigated land, special consideration of septic system and farm animal placement will need to be made, as well. Your UW Extension Office is always a good resource for expert opinions, and you can check out http://wyo.gov/seo/ for state information on irrigation and Legal Aspects Relating to Irrigation Ditch Rights and Easements.

For more information on Wyoming’s Water Laws, visit http://ces.uwyo.edu and click on publications for a summary of the laws in place.

 

July 4th Cody Wyoming

04 July, 2010

There is no place like Cody, Wyoming on the 4th of July. Flags are flying along Sheridan Avenue and on the 1st of July the Cody Stampede begins with 4 days of PRCA rodeo followed by the Extreme Bulls on the 5th. There are 3 days of parades with floats and marching bands and of course, lots of horses. The porch of the Irma Hotel is a lively place with live music including the Bagpipers from Billings, MT. In the City park across from the Court House, families enjoy picnicking as they listen to music in the band shell. 10th Street next to the park is closed for an arts and crafts fair. It is an exciting and very patriotic time.

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Sunday Drive in the Beartooths

22 July, 2010

A beautiful day and drive in our 1939 Chevy Coupe in the Beartooth Mountains. We drove up the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway which is 15 miles north of Cody, Wyoming. We drove along the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River to Cooke City. Then we back tracked and took the Beartooth Highway over the top of the Beartooth Mountains. Charles Kuralt called this highway the ‘most scenic highway in North America’.undefined

Yellowstone National Park

22 July, 2010

 

One of the great advantages of living here is having Yellowstone Park in our back yard. One evening my husband said to me,’Let’s pack a lunch and go to Yellowstone tomorrow.’ So we did. We drove up the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, over Dead Indian Pass and along the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River. We went through Cooke City, known for its snowmobiling in the winter, and on to Silver Gate, the northeast gate of Yellowstone. Driving along through Lamar Valley, we saw many herds of buffalo.

We then took the route over Dunraven Pass where we came upon a traffic jam. Along the roadside was a young grizzly sow and her 2 cubs.

We continued on past the Grand Canyon to Norris Junction past some geysers to Old Faithful Inn. From there we continued on to West Thumb and traveled along Yellowstone Lake to Fishing Bridge. Looking out over the lake, we noticed what was the beginning of a forest fire which has burned over 500 acres.

We continued on over Sylvan Pass to the East Gate and Pahaske Tepee, Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge. We were home in time to have a nice barbecue after a relaxing day in the park.

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Wyoming Trail Riding

14 September, 2010

One of the many wonderful aspects of living near Cody, Wyoming is the spectacular trail riding opportunities. Ronald Reagan once said, ‘there is nothing better for the inside of man than the outside of a horse’.We will often just ride out of place across BLM for a short ride enjoying the mountain views. On other occasions we will trailer a short distance to ride up in the mountains.mountains around Cody WyomingOn Labor Day weekend, we went up Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and down to the bottom of the pass. There we parked the trailer, tacked up and headed down the trail. riding in the mountains near Cody WyomingThis trail takes you along a route to the Clarks Fork Canyon where Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians escaped from the Calvary in 1877 and head north to Montana. The vistas are magnificent. And the granite cliffs are awe inspiring. riding in the mountains near Cody Wyoming.

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On Labor Day weekend, we went up Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and down to the bottom of the pass. There we parked the trailer, tacked up and headed down the trail. riding in the mountains near Cody Wyoming. This trail takes you along a route to the Clarks Fork Canyon where Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians escaped from the Calvary in 1877 and head north to Montana. The vistas are magnificent. And the granite cliffs are awe inspiring.

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After about 4 miles or so, you come to the overlook of the Clarks Fork Canyon and the trail that leds down the south face of the Canyon to the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River.?This trail is very steep and mostly shale and is for the experienced rider. The view from the top is breathtaking and you can almost image Chief Joseph and his band of people and almost 2000 Appaloosa horses traversing this trail.

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Happy Trails!

Local Wildlife

08 March, 2011

I was sitting in our great room enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon by the fire when the neighbors decided to drop by. Antelope are commonly seen in Wyoming. They are migratory and are seen in different areas different times of the year. I have often seen them in my pasture where they will stop and look at me through the window. Unfortuantely, as soon as I move to get the camera, so do they.

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Wyoming is the only state with more antelope than people. They are an amazing animal that can reach speeds of 60 mph. The antelope of North American are called Pronghorns, but more commonly referred to as just antelope. During the winter they form mixed sex herds. In spring, males and females will seperate with young males and females forming seperate groups and adult males living solitarily.

Wildlife viewing here in northwestern Wyoming is spectacular, especially when you can look at them out your front window.

Chief Joseph Scenic Highway

01 May, 2011

 

Today, May 1, was the perfect day for a drive along the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. Named after the Nez Perce chief during the conflict of 1877, this highway and area also has significant historical interest. The Nez Perze during the summer of 1877 were flewing the US Calvary through Yellowstone Park and traveled the trails through the mountains east of Yellowstone and out throught the Clarks Fork Canyon. They eventually surrendered 30 miles from the Canadian border with Chief Joseph’s famous speech, ‘From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.’ There are several interprative signs along the highway giving the history of the conflict in this area.

The Chief Joseph Highway starts at Wyoming Highway 120 and ends about 46 miles at the Beartooth Highway. From there you travel through the Two Dot Ranch for about 8 miles till you enter the Shoshone National Forest. Mule deer along with other wildlife is abudant. The rock formations and colors are stunning. Each time I reach the top of Dead Indian Pass, my breath is taken away with the beauty of the snow covered peaks with several peaks being over 12,000 feet.

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There are many trailheads for hiking and riding off the highway. Sunlight Basin offers another scenic drive to the back country. As we travel along the Clarks Fork River, we look across to the Beartooth Mountains. The Clarks Fork River and Canyon is the division between the Beartooth Mountains(glacier formation) and the Absaroka Mountains(volcanic formation).After we pass through the community of Crandall, I get my first glimpse of Pilot and Index Peaks. This to me is always the crowning jewel of the drive. Today, they were covered deeply in snow, promising the valleys below a good spring run off.

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We enjoyed a picnic lunch and returned home after a relaxing drive. I will travel this highway many more times in the coming months as one of my favorite excursions. All of this is just in our backyard living in Northwestern Wyoming.

Yellowstone National Park via Northeast Entrance

19 May, 2011

 

Last week Coulter Pass from Pilot Creek in Wyoming to Cooke City Montana was plowed allowing Silver Gate, the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone Park to open for the season. We took a drive up the Chief Joseph Highway and continue through Cooke City and into the Park.

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Soon after driving into the Park, we saw a young grizzly bear near Soda Butte Creek.

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We drove a short way into Lamar Valley and turned around. The East Gate was closed due to avalanches. The Sunday afternoon drive was relaxing as we took in the awe inspiring views of the spectacular mountains in our backyard.

Beartooth Highway Opens 2011

16 June, 2011

The Beartooth Highway is a stretch of highway that goes from Red Lodge to Cooke City, MT across the rugged Beartooth Mountains. Charles Kuralt called it the most scenic highway in North America. It is the highest highway in the Northern Rockies with the pass at 11,000 feet. Living at the base of the dramatic Beartooths, I look forward annually to the opening of the Beartooth Highway. Usually opening around Memorial weekend, this year it was delayed due to heavy snowpack. The 75th anniversary of the opening of the highway on June 14, 1936 was celebrated this past weekend. It follows a route taken by General Sheridan in 1872 when he was returning from an inspection tour of Yellowstone Park.

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On our trip on Sunday, we saw people skiing, snow boarding and snow mobiling. Wyoming MountainsIf you look at the top, you will see 2 skiers ready to launch down the mountain.

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Returning home to the base of the Beartooth Mountains in Clark, we came to green prairies and wildflowers blooming.

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Wyoming Wild Flowers

14 July, 2011

This spring we had an abundance of rain, more than usual. This produced green prairies and mountain sides with lush vibrant wildflowers. Many of these flowers I have never seen before.

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Last fall, I scattered native seeds and was pleasantly surprised this spring to see the results.

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Yucca is a native plant to this area. Normally, when you look across the prairie, you will notice them only when you are close up. This year they were in full bloom. I only see displays like this about every 3 years, so this was a very special year for the Yucca.

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Rocky Mountain Goats in the Beartooth Mountains

01 August, 2011

Rocky Mountain goats inhabit the alpine meadows in high elevations in the Rocky Mountains. They are not a true goat, but are close relatives. They are sure footed often seen climbing along sheer mountain cliffs. I saw these grazing on a drive over the Beartooth Mountains yesterday. They are a magnificent sight. This elevation was probably about 10,000 feet.

The Beartooth Mountains were named after this formation. In the middle of the picture, you will see the ‘Bear’s Tooth.undefinedundefined

Springtime Awakening in the Rockies

20 April, 2012

This winter was very mild and spring arrived early this year. Our horses started shedding in February. They must have know something we do not. After a sleepy winter, there are other subtle signs of an awakening spring. One of the first signs is the yucca turning green. The yucca or soapweed yucca plant is found in the dryer areas of Wyoming. It has a beautiful white flower which blooms every 3 years. The sage gradually turn color and green sprouts of grass appear across the prairie. The blue birds have come back and I heard my first meadow lark sing this past weekend. You will often see smoke rise as the farmers prepare for planting and burn the irrigation ditches in preparation for water being turned on sometime in April. This will vary with irrigation districts. Plowing has started in Yellowstone National Park and roads will open up in late April and early May.undefinedundefined

Springtime Cattle Drive in Wyoming

14 May, 2012

Springtime is the time that many ranchers will move herds of cattle around to different pastures and on to BLM leases. A neighbor and friend of ours asked for some help this year. We have done this trail many times and it is always a gorgeous ride. This Saturday, we moved about 100 head approximately 8 miles. It was perfect weather for the ride. Everything went smoothly and all of us had a wonderful time and a wonderful ride.undefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

Beartooth Highway

29 August, 2012

The renowned Beartooth Highway (Highway 212), is a 65-mile route over the Beartooth Mountains with the Beartooth Pass at 10,947 feet, and is surrounded by the Gallatin, Shoshone, and Custer National Forests and sits in a million-plus acre wilderness. The Beartooth Mountains, east of Yellowstone Park, are part of the Yellowstone Ecosystem. This highway is renowned as one of the most scenic highways in America and offers visitors extraordinary views of a variety of ecosystems; a range from pristine alpine landscapes, lush forests, to grasslands sets the stage for over 400 plant species to grow, which is more flora than any other mountain range in North America.

 The Beartooths are home to over 300 pristine lakes and waterfalls, some 300 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. Twenty of the surrounding mountain peaks tower above 12,000 feet; Granite Peak (the highest in Montana) stands at 12,799 feet. Much of the area is covered by glaciers with glacial rock spread across many of the surrounding plateaus. There are about 25 small glaciers that exist today in the Beartooths. The U-shaped valleys were once V-shaped before the massive glaciers slowly ripped through the rocks. The name of the mountain range comes from a rugged peak that has the shape of a bear’s tooth.

While the majority of the Beartooth Mountains are protected as wilderness, part of the range lies outside the wilderness boundary. This unprotected area provides an incredible trail system to hikers, horseback riders, and climbers. Because of the abundance of wildlife ranging from elk to grizzly bear, it is important to take all safety precautions when venturing into this area. It is an incredible area and is right in our back yard.

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Fall Time in Wyoming

05 November, 2012

Fall weather can cover a wide range. Mother Nature usually give us a warning of what is around the corner with a cold snap and then we are usually back to an Indian summer with temperature in the 50’s and 60’s. As the days get shorter, temperatures dropped as the sun goes behind the mountains. Sunsets are brilliant.

The Beartooth Highway usually closes by the first or second week in October. Closures in Yellowstone is weather dependent. Prior to the Beartooth Highway and the Park, we took one last drive through on 2 seperate days. Colors along the Beartooth Highway were brilliant. The elk in the Park were majestic. undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

Christmas in the Canyon

06 January, 2013

Every year, weather permitting, we take our 6 wheeler back into the Clarks Fork Canyon on Christmas day. The massive granite walls tower above majestically reaching towards the blue sky. Clark, Wyoming The Clarks Fork River moves through partially frozen veins of ice. undefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

A Hard Day's Work

06 January, 2013

In the realm of my everyday work, I see beautiful mountain views that change with the season. Last week, I was out showing properties on the Northfork Highway, which is the highway to Yellowstone. On the way, we passed a herd of elk grazing in a field.

A little further down the road, just past Wapiti, a herd of Big Horn Sheep was crossing the highway. And of course, there is always a buffalo or two. What a day! All in the day of selling real estate in Wyoming!undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

Wyoming Real Estate at Work

18 February, 2013

Driving around and showing real estate around Cody, Powell and Clark is always an adventure. Sunday I was driving out the Northfork, west of Cody, on the way to Yellowstone to show a home. I just had to pull over and admire the elk soaking up the sunshine.

While driving around Clark, Wyoming and showing properties, I drove back to the Clarks Fork Canyon where the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River flows into the valley. Off to the right, up the mountain side, we were greeted by some Big Horn Sheep.

A wonderful day’s work selling real estate in Wyoming and coming home to Clark.

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Enjoying Her New Home

07 April, 2013

KC and her owner bought a log home on a creek last summer. KC loves the creek, but had to get some boots for the work in the pasture. Wyoming Homes for Sale What a life!

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Clarks Fork Canyon and the Nez Perce

04 August, 2013

A trail ride to follow the history of the Nez Perce flight of 1877 went through northern Wyoming July 21-26. The National Appaloosa Horse Club sponsors a 1300 mile ride from the Wallowa Valley of Oregon to the Bear Paw Mountains of Montana doing approximately 100 miles every year. Thirteen years ago I laid the ride out from Cooke City to Clark, Wyonming. I help with the ride again this year. There were 150 riders from all over the country and some from Europe. There were also Nez Perce on the ride. We started at Pilot Creek near Cooke City and ended on Friday at Line Creek in Clark near the Montana border. Horses on the ride were all Appaloosas, the horse that the Nez Perce bred and raised. In 1877, the Nez Perce fled the Wallowa Valley with 600-700 men, women and children and nearly 2000 horses. They were fleeing to find freedom. General Howard pursued them through Yellowstone and felt he had them trapped as he felt there was no way out. General Sturgis had been camped by the mouth of the Clarks Fork Canyon, but was told by scouts that it was impassable and he moved his camp to where he could watch the Shoshone drainage. The Nez Perce did make their legendary escape through the Clarks Fork Canyon and headed north. The Thursday ride followed the trail of the Nez Perce escape. It comes off a bench and desends 1000 feet in less than one half mile. To ride this trail is almost spiritual thinking of the 600 Nez Perce and their 2000 horses descending this perilous trail known by the locals as Slide Rock Trail. For more see the Powell Tribune, http://www.powelltribune.com/component/k2/item/11282-%E2%80%98something-spiritualundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

Opening of Yellowstone

19 May, 2017

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. 

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Wyoming State Flower

05 May, 2017

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. 

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