As I was cruising around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks last weekend in awe of the wildflower display, I was inspired to share my opinion of the 10 best things about Wyoming in July. They are in no particular order because, quite frankly, I enjoy them all!
1. Fourth of July – I’m guessing that most places in the United States have Fourth of July celebrations. July 4 week here in Cody, Wyoming is a big, hairy deal – Extreme Bulls (a night at the rodeo where the only event is bull-riding); the Stampede (PRCA’s largest one-header rodeo); not one, not two, but three(!) parades including a kiddie parade; and, of course, the required fireworks. The parade is pretty neat and has to be the biggest parade per capita of anywhere in the U.S.—almost two hundred entries for a town of 9,500 people. New York City would need 175,000 parade entries!
2. Guests – We love having guests and showing them our slice of paradise! I was extremely blessed this week to have a couple whom I’d never met (friends of friends) from my home state of Georgia as guests. It was their first trip west of the Mississippi River and I suspect they’ll be glad to leave our house just to get away from my incessant talking about how awesome this area is and how much there is to do. (By the way, these two young adults, seniors in college, would restore anyone’s lagging faith in America’s younger generation.)
3. Rodeo – Cody is definitely a rodeo town. We have the Cody Nite Rodeo every day from June 1 through August 1. I love the Cody Nite Rodeo and the fact that it’s every day makes it easy to arrange for guests. The Extreme Bulls and the Cody Stampede are July 4 week must-dos. Wyoming also hosts Frontier Days in Cheyenne which bills itself as the “Daddy of them all.” It’s more than just a rodeo. To describe Frontier Days would take a couple of blog posts, so I’ll leave you to check that out for yourself.
4. Wildflowers – July and August are wildflower months here. They are always pretty, but with our exceptionally wet spring they have been downright spectacular. If you’re a wildflower fan, check out Nancy McClure’s blog post and photos. A couple more of her photos are below.
5. Activities – There are activities galore going on here at the Center! It’s kind of hard to focus on work sometime when you walk out of your office and there is a tour about to start, activities in the garden, etc. Nice problem to have, right? One of my favorites is the chuckwagon. Ron Reed brings his fully-stocked chuckwagon each summer, parks it out front and talks about cooking on a cattle drive. Not only does he talk about it but he demonstrates – he cooks biscuits and beans over the campfire. And his biscuits are kickin’! Almost as good as my mom’s.
6. Hot temps, cold water – When the heat gets to be too much, our lakes and streams are cold and clear. What’s the big deal, you say – everybody does that during the summer. Yes, but many of Wyoming’s rivers and streams (3 right here in Park County) are also blue-ribbon fisheries
7. High country – When the heat gets to be too much and you don’t want to immerse yourself in cold water, you can retreat to the high country. Mount Washburn in Yellowstone, the Beartooth Highway (partly in Montana) and Carter Mountain are some of my favorites in the area. Added benefit – if you hang out long enough for nightfall, the stars are un-flipping-believable.
8. Visitors – Since we are basically a tourist town, we LOVE visitors! It adds such an energy to the Center, the town, the area. Full disclosure: as the CFO of the Center, I also appreciate the money our visitors bless us with as well. What I’m not so fond of is the Yellowstone visitors who choose to leave their brains at home and do things like walk off a boardwalk toward a hot spring or walk up close to the wildlife.
9. Mom – My mom lives in Georgia and works in Yellowstone during the summer. I see more of her now than I did when we only lived three hours apart.
10. Fresh fruit and veggies – OK, so this is not Wyoming-specific, but fresh tomatoes from the garden or farmer’s markets are just downright awesome.