Discovering the Big Horns.
The plan was to wake up early, fish out behind the Comfort Inn parking lot, grab a coffee and head west to Cody, arriving in time for a quick beer before the famed rodeo. We knew it'd be about 5 hours, that Devil's Tower was a bit too much of a detour and that Hwy 14 was to be scenic. We didn't know the Big Horn Mountains would add a blissful 1.5 hours to our trip.
This tells you how much homework I did before we ventured west... I didn't know that Big Horn National Forest existed.
A "sister range" of the Rocky Mountains, the Big Horns occupy a bit of Northern Wyoming, not too far from South Dakota and right at the edge of Montana. The forest service nails the description with this one: "No region in Wyoming is provided with a more diverse landscape - from lush grasslands to alpine meadows, from crystal-clear lakes to glacially-carved valleys, from rolling hills to sheer mountain walls."
I said "wow" at every hairpin turn. We stopped at nearly every pull out, admiring lush hills, taking in the magic of Shell Falls, counting the colors in a craggy mountain. It was one of many times this trip we said "we have to come back here" and actually meant it. Next time we'll explore 14A and see Big Horn Lake and Canyon.
More on the rodeo, or the "Codeo" as I would like it to be called*, in a post coming soon, but now we're off to Montana. Kevin is like a little boy on Christmas Eve: Montana Rivers are what this fly fisherman has only dreamt of.
Home, home on the range,
*Codeo= Cody + Rodeo. Like Spork= Spoon + Fork. It makes sense.