Reflections and observations on my trip out West
We are driving back from a week spent in Wyoming at a family reunion. Having lived in Montana the first 14 years of my life it brought back many memories. Life in the Mountain West is very different from my citified life in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
One of the things I love are the snow capped mountains and big vistas with the road laying before you like a ribbon unfurling into eternity. Grazing livestock, pick-ups driven by men with cowboy hats and cattle guards at all the freeway exits tell you this is ranching country. The frequent use of terms to describe places like canyon, creek and gulch are unique to mountain country. Because of a winter with record snow falls and a spring and early summer with record rains the countryside is adorned with colorful wildflowers and verdant vegetation.
We spent a couple of days in Buffalo, Wyoming at the foot of the scenic Big Horn Mountains, which is one of those historic wild west settlements. The Occidental Hotel in town boasts having hosted the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody. Not too far south of Buffalo is some rugged country called the Hole in the Wall where outlaw gangs like those of Butch and Sundance used to hide out. Situated on which was once the Bozeman trail taking people into the gold fields of Western Montana, Buffalo lore also includes the tragic tales of broken treaties and Indian wars.