Friday, July 3, 2009

September at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and Yellowstone

I spent two weeks in September, 2008, at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, mostly doing library research for my book on Indians and horses. The McCracken Library there has a treasure trove of memoirs, photos, and books old and new about the west, including many resources for my book. I rented a little house and spent most of my time pouring over books and photos in the library.
Cody is close to Yellowstone National Park, one of my favorite places, and I managed spend my weekends there. Usually, I focus on the Lamar Valley, where I'm most likely to see wolves, but this time I also hiked in the southeastern area of the park, where I was lucky enough to encounter these curious pikas along the trail.
The area around Cody is also great for hiking and biking, as the town has many nearby trails and is surrounded by mountains. I developed a fondness for the town's many waterfront trails, where I found these lovely fall wildflowers blooming. As you can see, Cody is quite a dry, desertlike place.
The Wild Bill Historical Center surprised me--I had imagined it as a fluffy touristy sort of place, but I was wrong. The Center has wonderful museums full of interesting information and artifacts, from the largest collection of firearms in the United States to a beautiful Plains Indian Museum and another museum filled with the art of important western painters, as well as one celebrating the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, an important figure in the history of the "Wild West," perhaps the most influential of all in forming the American vision of life in the Old West.

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