Summer Fun in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains

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.

Sunrise in northeern Wyoming on an RV trip-min

Sunrise in Wyoming

Sunrise Big Horn Mountains Wyoming RV trip-min

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Buddy loves to play in the early morning light and take long walks before the world wakes up.

Puppy on rocks in northeastern Wyoming at sunrise-min

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Puppy trotting down dirt road in northeastern Wyoming at sunrise-min

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Puppy on a dirt road at sunrise northeastern Wyoming RV trip-min

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Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains have given us some incredible skies.

Dramatic skies Northeastern Wyoming RV trip-min

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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.

Morning in the woods in teh Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming-min

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Family portrait Big Horn Mountains Wyoming RV trip-min

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Loving life Big Horn Mountains Wyoming RV trip-min

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Sometimes there’s true beauty hiding in a rock crevice.

Spider's Web

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Sometimes we just find a place to sit in the woods and commune with the trees.

Puppy in the woods Wyoming Big Horn Mountains-min

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The Big Horn Mountains offer many expansive views.

Puppy looks at the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming-min

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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.

Big Horn Mountains Wyoming smoke from California wildfires-min

The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina come to the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming

Smoky Mountains in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming-min

Mark cast an image in black and white with a cool result.

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!

Horseback riders Big Horn Mountains Wyoming RV trip-min

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Cowgirl horseback rider Big Horn Mountains Wyoming-min

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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!

King's Saddlery Sheridan Wyoming RV trip-min

King’s Saddlery in Sheridan Wyoming

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.

Cowboy tests ropes at King's Saddlery Sheridan Wyoming-min-min

A pair of cowboys were testing different ropes to see which felt best.

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.

Cowboy Ropes for sale at King's Saddlery Sheridan Wyoming RV trip-min-min

There are dozens and dozens of different kinds of ropes for cowboys here!

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.

Making custom horse saddles at King's Saddlery Sheridan Wyoming-min-min

All the saddles are custom made.

Then we came across a woman getting her cowboy hat custom sized to fit her head. The hat was steamed to make it pliable.

Custom sizing cowboy hat with steam Sheridan Wyoming King's Saddlery-min

A cowboy hat gets steamed to the right size and shape for a customer.

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!

Poster for Sheridan Wyoming Rodeo from 1932-min

A poster for the Sheridan Rodeo in 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.

Envelope from artist CM Russell to Howard Eaton dude ranch owner in Wolf Wyoming-min

This hand painted envelope from 1907 held a letter from artist CM Russell to ranch owner Howard Eaton.

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.

Envelope from artist CM Russell to Howard Eaton dude ranch owner in Wolf Wyoming-min

What a different time it was when an envelope could be so carefully filled out.

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.

Wool flag from Wyoming that was seen behind President Trump in Washington-min

Buffalo residents were excited that this American flag made from skeins of local wool was clearly visible behind President Trump during the televised broadcast of the Made in America Product Showcase event in July 2018.

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!

Sheep and kids in costume Johnson County Fairground Wyoming-min

A very charismatic toddler wore an elaborate wool vest and waved to the crowd while dad led the sheep.

Zorro sheep dress-up Johnson County Fair 4H-min

Zorro in his mask and cape accompanied his sheep who was also wearing a mask and cape!

Johnson County Fair Wyoming sheep and kids festival-min

The little kids were very cute and all but the very youngest led their own sheep.

Johnson County Fair Wyoming sheep and kids festival-min

This young boy sported a cool woolen vest while his sheep wore cool sunglasses.

One little girl wore a lovely wedding dress made entirely of wool. Her sheep was her groom and he wore tails.

Wool wedding dress at Johnson County Wyoming fair 4h Sheep show-min

This girl’s entire wedding dress was made of wool.

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!

Johnson County Fair Wyoming sheep and kids festival-min

The older kids made their own clothes from scratch. So impressive!

Northern Wyoming and the Big Horn Mountain region have been full of very fun surprises this summer.

Boat on a lake in northeastern Wyoming-min

Summer days are here again!

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.

Stormy sunset RV camping in Wyoming-min

The Big Horns in Wyoming were full of surprises, including this wild storm that rolled in at sunset!

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22 thoughts on “Summer Fun in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains

  1. 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.

  2. 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!!

  3. 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.
    Camyn Perry

    • 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!!

    • 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!!

  4. 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.
    Bob

    • 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!

  5. 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 !

  6. 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.

  7. Hi Em & Mark
    Always love viewing the great stories and pics. And, to know you both & Buddy doing well. Safe travels and hugs❗️

  8. 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.

  9. 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 🙂

    • 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!!

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