Bighorn Mountains

OK – enough distractions with animal photos. I need to get back to my trip timeline.

After my Tuesday night at the Cody Rodeo I headed east from where I had spent the night in Powell, WY and crossed the Bighorn Mountains – twice- once going east and later going west. I had mapped out some scenic roads I wanted to take and my Airbnb hostess in Powell suggested a minor variation to ensure that I would see the Shell waterfall, which was a very worthwhile diversion.

First, though, I drove through the little town of Lovell which had this electronic billboard counting down to their “Mustang Days” celebration:

Different towns call their heritage celebrations different things – Pioneer Days, Mustang Days, etc. and have parades, rodeos and community gatherings.

Outside of Lovell there was a rest stop adjacent to an airfield which had a museum and a collection of old wildfire-fighting aircraft. The museum wasn’t open and there were signs warning people not to trespass but I was able to walk to the fence and stick my camera through for some photos:

I continued driving east and could finally see the Bighorn mountains in the distance. They were large and impressive but seemed to be shrouded in smoke or smog, possibly from the two wildfires in Montana I had seen the previous day. Fortunately as I got closer and actually drove up in them the visibility improved so it wasn’t a big deal.

I started ascending the west side of the northern part of the Bighorn range. I have seen the mountains and river referred to as both Big Horn and Bighorn. Either is acceptable but I am sticking with what explorers Lewis & Clark wrote in their journals back in 1806- Bighorn.

Eventually I did come to Shell Falls:

There is the major fall (above) and then the water flows off to the side and goes down several more minor falls.

It is hard to capture the beauty of a waterfall with still photos as you need to see and hear the flowing water, and sometimes feel the mist on your face, to really appreciate it.

I continued driving along a lengthy plateau at the highest part of the mountain. This afforded some excellent views and some extremely pleasant temperatures after the 100+ degree day and warmer than average night in Cody the preceding night.

After descending from the mountain but before reaching the interstate highway in Sheridan I stopped in the little town of Dayton, where I saw this character perched on his (or her) high-rise handlebar motorcycle – kinda sortof:

While in town I also this sign which I sent a photo of to my most recent employer, telling her that perhaps this should be her next endeavor:

I continued on to Sheridan and Interstate 25 which took me south to the town of Buffalo WY. I exited there and headed west on scenic Route 16 which would take me over the Bighorn mountains again. These were about a thousand feet higher in elevation and that was evidently enough of a difference to allow them to have snow atop them, which I had not seen on the mountains further north. Once again, the altitude brought cooler temperatures and even more wildflowers.

After descending off the mountain I arrived in Worland, then turned south through Thermopolis and Riverton to get back to Lander. A very pleasant and relaxing day!