August 2018 – We have been loving the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming this summer as we’ve roamed around the snow capped mountains and glassy lakes with our RV. Rising with the chickens in the early mornings, we’ve seen some fabulous sunrises.
Buddy loves to play in the early morning light and take long walks before the world wakes up.
Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains have given us some incredible skies.
And while we haven’t done any signature hikes, we’ve enjoyed simply wandering through the woods and across the open meadows, watching the play of light and shadow through the trees and climbing on rock outcroppings here and there.
Sometimes there’s true beauty hiding in a rock crevice.
Sometimes we just find a place to sit in the woods and commune with the trees.
The Big Horn Mountains offer many expansive views.
In the last few weeks the views have been obscured by the smoke from wildfires burning as far away as California. This has made the air quite hazy, but the effects in our photos has been intriguing.
Wyoming’s roots are in cattle ranching and cowboy life, and on quite a few of our walks we’ve bumped into folks on horseback.
One day while Buddy and I were trudging up a long and winding dirt road with the meadows spreading wide on either side of us, a cowboy on horseback appeared on the crest of the hill coming towards us. Behind him the snow capped Big Horn Mountains reached across the horizon in all their glory. As he descended the rocky road we noticed he was leading a second horse behind him. It was a classic and memorable image.
But where was my camera? Arghh! I’d left it at home since I was “just going for a walk.”
On another day I came across a trio of women out enjoying a ride. This time I had my camera with me, and when a fourth woman appeared she proudly showed me her chaps which had been hand made for her years ago!
In Sheridan, Wyoming, we visited a big store full of cowboy gear called King’s Saddlery (locally known as “King Ropes”). This unusual store sells custom made saddles, a huge variety of ropes for roping cattle, and is home to a museum of western memorabilia as well.
Our friends Bill and Jonette who live in the area urged us to visit because it is such a unique place. What a great travel tip that was!
When we walked in, after passing by row after row of horse saddles, we came across two cowboys trying out some of the ropes. There were two dummy cows for testing the ropes. One featured a pair of horns to simulate a cow’s head. The other featured a pair of legs, for checking out how well the rope would do for snaring a cow by the legs.
I was amazed watching these two cowboys lassoing the dummies over and over as they tried different ropes.
These two men tested rope after rope throughout our entire visit — for at least an hour — and as we left the store they were headed out too, new ropes in hand.
As we made our way to the museum area, we passed the area where the custom leather work is done. A huge chest filled with lots of little drawers contained all the small metal fittings that go into a saddle, bridal and all the other gear necessary to ride a horse.
Then we came across a woman getting her cowboy hat custom sized to fit her head. The hat was steamed to make it pliable.
In the museum there were rooms of antique saddles that had been used and loved for many years. Each saddle was different, many of them very ornate, and each one was accompanied by detailed information about who owned it, who made it, where it was used and when.
There were also lots of antique posters announcing various rodeo events. I liked the one for the Sheridan Rodeo of 1932!
But the museum piece that was most evocative was a pair of envelopes sent from the Great Falls, Montana, artist, CM Russell, to the man who owned the first dude ranch in Wyoming, Howard Eaton.
Each envelope was hand painted and dated by CM Russell, and the address was simply given as Howard Eaton’s name, the town of Wolf where he lived, and the state of Wyoming. No street or zip code necessary.
Those envelopes spoke volumes about the pace of life in the early 1900s, the importance and value people placed on sending and receiving a letter in the mail, and the size of the town of Wolf in Wyoming.
Our friends took us to another special event at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Buffalo, Wyoming, where kids and their sheep celebrated an important aspect of the history, culture and economy of the area: sheep farming and wool production.
A week prior, Mountain Meadow Wool, a local Buffalo Wyoming wool mill, had sent a special American flag made of wool to the Made In America Product Showcase in Washington, DC, to represent Wyoming’s homegrown products. The flag had returned from D.C. and was hanging proudly at one end of the field.
Last year we had been treated to a unique celebration of the Basque sheep herders who had settled this part of Wyoming in the early 1900s and had brought their shepherding skills with them from the Basque region of Spain.
The event we watched at the fairgrounds this summer was a presentation of lovingly raised sheep and their young caretakers who modeled all kinds of woolen clothing and dressed up their sheep to coordinate with their own outfits!
From a toddler in an elaborate wool vest to masked Zorro with his sword to a sheep wearing sunglasses, the costumes were adorable, and so were the kids and their sheep!
One little girl wore a lovely wedding dress made entirely of wool. Her sheep was her groom and he wore tails.
The older kids had made all their own clothes. Each outfit was really impressive and many were quite complex. One girl made a wonderful matching ensemble for her sheep and herself!
Northern Wyoming and the Big Horn Mountain region have been full of very fun surprises this summer.
This part of Wyoming is a long ways from the more famous western region that is home to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. But the history and traditions are rich and heartwarming.
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More info about this area:
- Wyoming Wool Goes to Washington!
- RV Campgrounds near Sheridan Wyoming and near Buffalo Wyoming
- Locations of King’s Saddlery in Sheridan and Johnson County Fairgrounds in Buffalo
Other blog posts from the Big Horns:
- Bighorn Canyon – A River Runs Through It in Montana!
- RVing Wyoming – Lakes, Mountains and Waterfalls
- Buffalo Wyoming – RVing Basque Style in the Bighorns!
- Buffalo Wyoming – Cowboys, Cowgirls and Sheriff Walt Longmire!
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Great post as usual. Seems like your pictures are getting better and better if that is possible. They really capture the essence of the area. Two questions for you mostly out of curiosity. What are the temps in this area at this time of the year. Looks comfortable compared to the hot, hazy humid weather we’ve been having for weeks here in the east. And second, are you mostly boondocking as you often do? Are places available to do that? Seems like that beautiful lakeside spot is some type of campground. Anyways, thanks for the great travel incentive. Love your adventures.
Thank you, Ron & Barbara. We have so much fun with our cameras, and hopefully all that practice is making us better photographers! The temps in this part of Wyoming are all over the map as storms come and go and depending on whether you are in the mountains or the valleys. In the mountains the lows can be in the high 20s and the highs in the high 50s when a storm front comes through. In the valleys during a heat wave the highs can get over 100 with the lows in the low 60s. So it all depends where you stay and whether there’s a cold front or heat wave coming through. We went from running the heater in the morning to running the air conditioning in the afternoon all in one day when we left our campsite in the mountains and then set up camp in the valley. We’ve been dry camping all along but have hit some campgrounds now and then to be close to lakes for swimming or to town for town activities.
So glad you are enjoying Wyoming. It is a special place. We lived in Ten Sleep for a few years. Most of the people in Wyoming want the people who are traveling I-80 to think that’s all there is to Wyoming. It does have a special place in my heart. So much to see and do with special people.
Wyoming is a fabulous state and we’re so glad we’ve had the time to explore it at leisure. Lucky you to have lived in Ten Sleep, Bob! We always try to avoid the interstates when we travel because they hide the best parts of every state!!
Hi Guys! I love to see your photos and read about your travels. We are trying to sell our house currently and will be full timing as soon as it sells! Maybe we will meet up on the road some day! I wanted to send you a pic of my dog because she looks SO much like Buddy, but I don’t know how to attach it to this type of form. We don’t know what kind of dog she is and her coloring is a little different, but she looks a lot like him and it makes me smile to see him on his adventures! Safe travels.
How fun that your dog is so much like our little Puppy Chow, Camyn! You can always send me an email and attach your pic. Our contact info is in the “About & Contact” menu item just below the banner image (on desktops) and near the bottom of the menu on phones and tablets. I hope your house sells soon. You’ll love your life on the road, and with any luck we’ll meet somewhere and our dogs can play together!!
Gorgeous photos of the Wyoming skies, Emily! The photo of Buddy scampering over the rocks immediately brought to mind Jim Brandenburg’s “White Wolf Leap!”
I didn’t know that photo, Mary, so I looked it up. What a wonderful shot — thank you so much for making the comparison!! The fabulous sky pic in this post of the clouds and crepuscular rays is Mark’s. Such a neat and dramatic image. Happy trails!!
Gorgeous pictures, Em. Reading your story and seeing the pictures made me feel like I was there, even though I am On The Road More Traveled. 😉 Love the picture of Puppy Chow crossing the rocks.
I love that our pics and story could bring a little bit of Wyoming beauty to you, Bob. There are forks off the Road More Traveled and I hope you take a few, especially the little winding ones. Puppy Chow sends you a sniff and a tail wag for liking his pic!
One of the best, if not THE best post ! Loved the opening shot of the rig…with the side-panels open ! And Buddy certainly “dresses” up the countryside. So happy to see American pride in our beautiful country !
Thank you! We are grateful to have the opportunity to explore this wonderful country at leisure and in depth. So much to see and so much variety too!
Wow wow wow. What a great post. We laughed and laughed at Budward scanning the vista & posing in the forest. Kudos to you for getting up early every morning for these awesome shots. I can’t imagine you being without your camera. Thanks so much!
You’re welcome, Annie! Buddy is quite a poser, and we love his antics with the camera too. He knows the camera routine well now, and he knows he can rile us by posing perfectly until the last second when we click the shutter just as he turns away!! Every morning we peek under the blinds to see if there’s a potential for some pretty colors at sunrise, and sometimes when it looks promising we’re secretly saying “Darn, I wanted to sleep in this morning!!” LOL! It’s a great life. Thanks so much for appreciating our blog.
Hi Em & Mark
Always love viewing the great stories and pics. And, to know you both & Buddy doing well. Safe travels and hugs❗️
So wonderful to hear from you, Mary!! Sure wish you guys were here to enjoy it all with us. Hugs to you both. Hope you’re having fun with the popup!!
Good Morning, I always look forward to your posts. We are currently on the road for about 3 months and just got to Rapid City, SD to visit Mt Rushmore. We have really enjoyed Montana & Wyoming. The scenery in the west changes so quickly and is just breathtakingly beautiful. I was wondering if you had been to Cody, WY and visited the Buffalo Bill Center of The West. It is such a wonderful museum, Smithsonian quality for sure. Your pictures and articles are just so amazing and one has to feel as if they are on that walk with you.
Good morning, Patricia, and thank you very much for your heartfelt comment. The West is truly breathtaking and we are so grateful we’ve had the chance to explore it in depth for so many years. I’m so happy to know you feel like you’re with us when you read our stories, because that is exactly what I try to do — to bring you along on a quick escape to somewhere beautiful. We were in Cody just a few weeks ago and celebrated the 4th of July there (blog post here). However, we did not go to the Buffalo Bill Center. Next time! Enjoy your travels and thank you for following our adventures.
Beautiful! Love the parade of sheep. The watercolor sketch envelopes remind me of the works of another very special Old American West action artist of the day 🙂
Yes, indeed!!! So very similar, even the style and subject choices, and I wonder if they knew of each other. Probably so!
Loved the coverage of this area. Wally and I have not been here yet. Our cabin is near Young, AZ which is cowboy country so I loved the inside look at the cowboy store in Sheridan. See you on the road some time!
Thanks, Liz & Wally. Cowboy country is so unique and such a cool aspect of American culture. The store in Sheridan was a fun place to visit and it was a neat eye opener to a world we know very little about. I hope we see you down the road. Thanks so much for reading and appreciating our various articles!!
I saw your lovely photo on the Jan/Feb edition of Escapees magazine. Would you be willing to say where that site is located, including what kind of property it is (NFS, FWC etc.)? Thanks for all your wonderful contributions!
Thank you for the compliments on Mark’s cover photo on Escapees Magazine. It was in the Bighorn mountains and was just a pullout on the side of the highway, suitable for a lunch stop and fabulous for a snapping a cover pic!