Casita Chronicles; Northern Wyoming Loop/ Big Horn Mountains_Part 2

8-01_10Our campsite in Cody, Wyoming

Aug 2; I enjoyed another deep nights sleep, so I have no idea how long the storm lasted. We guessed not long as the land was still pretty dry this morning. After a wonderful cup of freshly grounded coffee, I got up and did my yoga practice while Uriah went for a walk. After our not so happy evening, I gained some new insights this morning during my Sadhana which inspired me back to a more positive perspective (see prologue on part 1). Mr. O worked on the lights again and got them to an acceptable working condition that we were finally able to head back into town. The main reason we are in Cody is so Uriah could visit the Buffalo Bill museum, which is housed within the Cody Museum which actually has five different museums contained within. You can learn all about it in his blog (I’m guessing). I saved the $19 entrance fee and used the time to finalize the 1st part of my blog and organizing my photos from my three different devises. I also took the dog for a walk and caught up on a few phone calls. Funny how you think you’ll have so much free time on vacation to catch up on various things, when indeed it just isn’t possible as far as I can tell.  Cody felt like the epitome of the old west, between the world renowned Buffalo Bill museum, nightly rodeo, gun shooting range, large boot factory and just the western vibe reverberating throughout the whole city that just makes you wanna go out and buy a gun, NOT! I guess since it is at one of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park, I can understand why the community took advantage of capturing the economic tourism opportunity. When Uriah returned about 3 hours later, we had a late lunch and searched for the RV dump station which was not easy to find, gassed up and finally left town around 4pm.  Cody was the farthest west we would travel and now we reached the turning point in our loop where we head a little north but mainly back east toward the medicine wheel, one of the other primary destinations of this trip. We passed through several rural farm towns like Powell & Lowell nothing noteworthy to mention. As we headed back toward the Bighorn Mountains we crossed over Bighorn lake, a damned up section of the Big Horn river used for electricity production and recreation. There was something calling me and I asked Uriah to pull over. The heavy haze from the California fires, along with the birds flying over the large body of water surrounded by mountains and this whole scene nearly devoid of any humans created a mythical feeling of peace that made me want to stay a while. Being that it was already 5:30 pm I asked if we could camp here and he agreed.

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I was quickly drawn to walk along the waters edge. Beside an occasional car passing by and the sound of water fowl, it was very quiet and peaceful. My body, mind and spirit quickly relaxed into this precious moment. Before we left on the trip my friend Barb told me how sacred the medicine wheel is, so I now wondered if this longing to stop here was to create an opportunity for me to have some time to prepare myself for the experience. To ponder what I might want pray for and get clarity about, or just to clear away all the thoughts of the past several days. I don’t know how long I sat by the waters edge but I do know that this was one of the highlight of the trip thus far. When I returned to the camper Uriah and Kiowa were inside & he was on his computer. Apparently he was the one getting bitten by bugs for a change. A huge storm rolled in and we enjoyed a lovely dinner watching the lightening fill up the valley. The rest of the evening we enjoyed each other and re-connected once again. I think the storm has finally passed.

Aug 3;  I woke early 4:00am and contemplated getting up for Sadhana. Anyone that does this practice knows that contemplating is the wrong thing to do. As Sat Siri once said on a IKTYA webinar, you’ve got to let the masculine lead this one, you just get up and do it. The feminine energy will have you think about all sides.  Lol,  oh well I didn’t obey the masculine, I convinced myself in light of the past week it was better to stay snuggled in close to my lover to solidify our renewed love. 

Another wondrous coffee meditation as we discussed the road ahead. Only a few days left on our journey and I’m just now starting to really get into it. Makes me really want to get back to more traveling and less committing to things back home. The daily Hukum was so profound however that I am feeling ready for about anything. Think I’ll take a quick dip before we head out.  I took Mr. O down to gem beach, the beautiful shore I had discovered last night filled with numerous colored rocks.

We both took a ritual dip and returned to finalize repairs for returning to the road. I did a short practice while he fixed the trailer brakes, a major blessing we would realize later. After breakfast we finally started our assent back up the Big Horn mountains toward the sacred medicine wheel. If you read Uriahs blog, he’ll likely rant about how it was all made up and it was there long before the Native Americans or some kids playing around created it. I’ll never truly understand why he has so much animosity towards them, not individually but as a nation. I think it has something to do with any underdog group that has been used or abused by the white man and called out on it. For some reason he feels the need to mock them perhaps on some unconscious level to stay in denial of the past atrocities helps him feel less guilty as one. (? just a theory) Anyways, as someone whom is attuned to the sacred in life, I was very excited to have the opportunity to be there and practice ceremony. As a priestess, I would just allow myself the freedom to be a vessel of the divine to allow what is needed to move through me. At the top of the very steep Big Horns we finally reached the road to the national historic site. We dropped the camper to drive the remaining 1.5 miles to the parking lot where we would walk in my case and run in Uriahs the remaining 1.5 miles.  There was a pretty steady flow of visitors throughout the entire time we were there, both whites and native Americans. I was grateful that things lined up for me to have my ceremony. Not only was I able to get some clarity for my own life, but prayed for the Native people in general, the Lakota in particular and the health and balance of all life on earth. (no pictures except on the way up as i was totally immersed in ceremonial space)

As usual it finished in perfect timing as there were others that came to pray and it was their turn.  I returned back in the truck just when Uriah was also complete with his journey. We then drove back down to retrieve the camper, have a quick snack and return to the road. The drive through the Big Horns was beautiful. We passed through miles of pine forests, large open meadows, waterfalls and seemed to be following the north fork of the Tongue River, which had a wild feel to it. We both felt it had a familiarity to Colorado.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI would have enjoyed to stay and camp a while but our time is running out and Mr. O has some battlefields he wants to visit. By late afternoon we were driving back down out of the Big Horns. It was very long and steep, 8% grade and why it was a blessing that he got the trailer brakes working. I was griping the over door handle, tensing up and kept telling Mr. O to slow down, it was quite intense despite being on a paved road. When we finally reached Dayton a very small town at the bottom I was very relieved. We filled up on gas, water and Mr. O got some kettle corn and we continued on to Decker, Montana to the Rosebud battlefield. It was pretty country but seemed to take forever to get there and at one point we weren’t even sure if we’d make it. The gps on my phone was saying it was somewhere that it was not but Mr. O felt confident that we would reach it up ahead. Sure enough we did sometime after 5:30pm just about when huge winds started blowing across the plains.

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It was in a very small State park which did not allowing any overnight camping and was surrounded by private land. Mr.O braved the winds to read the historical signs while I remained inside the truck. When he returned we discussed the current dilemma. It was really too late to try to find camping somewhere else so we’d have to take our chances either camping illegally in the State park or on someone’s private property.  The choices didn’t seem all that promising however, there didn’t seem to be any other reasonable option at this point and since we were in a very remote area the likely hood of getting caught or bothered was slim. In the familiar confident Uriah fashion he drove on through the park, just outside the park boundary was a wide part in the dirt road large enough to pull over and be out of the way of someone driving down the road. It happened to also be just below theta the area of the battle scene he wants to explore. That would have to wait till morning since it was windy and getting late. I got to work on dinner, someone did drive by us, but simply waved and didn’t stop to ask us to leave.

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By the time we were enjoying our dinner, the wind had died down and it turned out to be a perfect evening. We were even blessed with two large Sandhills cranes that flew into the field below us and hung out for the night. I got a pretty good look through the binoculars but it was getting too dark to get a good shot with the camera. The most exciting part however was the very unique sounds they made. At one point after I had already slipped to sleep, I though I heard them cooing by our camper.  Again the whole experience felt like a blessing, esp. since it was a pair.

Aug 4;  I heard the cranes one more time in the morning just before our coffee meditation and never heard or saw them again. I accompanied Mr. O to the top of the ridge to survey the area of carnage. He relayed the whole ordeal of the engagement which still does not peak my interest even slightly. I never have and doubt will ever be interested in the stories of war and humans killing other humans, I just don’t get it. I did however enjoy the beautiful meadows and rolling hills and being by my husbands side as he relayed the stories of his interest.

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Since we have a huge day of driving ahead we didn’t dawdle. The plan was to drive to the Northern Cheyenne reservation to stop at the grave of Dull knife and Little Wolf, then on all the way north to Mile City, Montana (God knows why, but not me) then back east through North Dakota to Slim Buttes battlefield which is south back into our home state of SD, a good 300 mile day! Unheard of for he O’s. When we arrived in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation we both noted how beautiful the landscape was and it appeared a bit more prosperous than some other reservations we’ve traveled through. We were getting hungry so we asked a guy walking down the street in the town center if there were any cafes that served breakfast. He said that he thought the casino stopped serving breakfast so likely no. Uriah inquired about the cemetery in which he replied which one? then directed us right at the turnabout and then left on top of the hill. When we drove over there we only saw a college which he didn’t mention at all in the directions. We drove around for a bit looking to no avail and finally asked some other ladies whom directed us back to the general area he had tried to send us. As we finally entered the area that looked like the cemetery, whom was walking in front of us but the guy whom we had initially spoke to. We ended up spending the next two hours talking with him. He was there visiting his sons grave who had died at the young age of 22 years old. Robert Yellow Fox, or “Old Man” as people call him was a very interesting, intelligent and engaging man. He shared a love of history that impressed Uriah tremendously and earned his respect.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe told us numerous stories of past historical events of his people, personal family experiences and some local legends and beliefs of spiritual significance. I asked him what the medicine of the Sandhill crane was and he responded “patience & perseverance”, which I found quite appropriate. At one point, I had offered him some food as we were still hungry and he said he would  not take it with his wife and son at home. So I made three sandwiches for him to take home and share with his family. After we ate our sandwiches we bid our new friend farewell with names and numbers exchanged and an invitation to come back next summer to support his Sun Dance. He intends to Sun Dance to help heal the anger he felt toward his sons’ murderer whom will be getting out of jail soon. He believed that if he took revenge upon this man he would not get to see his son again nor be reunited with his people. We took this honor of the invitation very seriously and felt compelled to support his journey. We both enjoyed talking with Old Man, though he was only 42 yrs but it pushed our long travel day back some and we needed to make up some time. Therefore the remainder of the day was spent driving long distances without brakes through the Tounger River valley and a lot of agricultural land. I personally didn’t find Mile City worth the extra drive, but Mr. O got a DQ and got to see the Yellowstone River which was pretty massive. The short drive through N. Dakota was mainly wheat fields and before we knew it we were back in South Dakota reaching our destination by 7 pm. Fortuitously there was a campground In Custer National Forest very close to where the slim butte battle took place. It’s beautiful, free and not too crowded,  which was more than could we ask for on the last night of our trip.  After diner we took a nice walk, visited with our neighbor’s and enjoyed a nice little campfire. A perfect way to end our trip.

Aug 5;  Unfortunately the reality of all the commitments I have to face when I return made for a fitful night. I awoke at 2 am and couldn’t get back to sleep for a while, then had stressful dreams. Again the contrasts I am feeling is truly telling. However since I enjoy the many things I do, I’m not sure how I’ll be able to change anything but I guess it’s a process. This place truly is a little gem in the middle of nowhere and only 3 hours from our home. Mr O plans to run down to the battlefield and do his weekly yoga practice there. I enjoyed my practice right here in our campsite then went for a little walk up the rest of the dirt road. At the end of the campground area is a national landmark called “The Castles” the purpose to preserve this natural phenomena. It truly is wondrous and we look forward to returning when we can spend more time. Mr. O was returning from his run at they act moment I was walking back to our campsite. At the camper he exclaimed that he was going to take a shower. Even though our Casita is equipped with a shower, we rarely use it. It take a lot of propane to heat it up and then the water usage. We usually find other places to shower on are travels but do use it when necessary. I think it will be a nicer drive back after his run now that “he’s a clean man.”

We finally hit the road around 11:30am, Mr. O had to make his “Sunday calls” to his family and return the other calls from messages left, why he couldn’t make them when he returned home is beyond me.  The 3 hour trip according to the gps took us 5.5 hours! And it really wasn’t because of Sturgis.  We stopped once to get something to eat, (1hr) and did take a little detour down some county roads to avoid driving through Sturgis but it just seemed to take forever. I drifted off several times.  We finally arrived home around 5ish. Though we both felt like taking naps, we got right to work unloading. We just couldn’t help ourselves.  Then checked in on the chickens, garden (all well) then the mail and the messages. The neighbor down the street where Odysseus supposedly had been seen, finally called back. I had left him a note over two weeks ago. Aparently he had been out of town and said he has a cat that looks exactly like mine, so all the people whom thought they saw Odysseus probably were just seeing his cat.  So i took this as a sign and started cleaning up and putting away all his stuff I had left out for him.  A short while later Uriahs friend Dan called and said there was a kitten found up near the VA. Apparently the VA police had a stand-off with a mountain lion and they assumed this kittens parent and maybe siblings had been taken. The employees have been taking care of it the last week. They had an adult cat that had come to them and had been living there whom also disappeared recently (which they think the lion got). However, they just didn’t feel the boiler room was a safe place for a kitten and was hoping someone would adopt her.  Probably not much of a surprise that i told Dan, yes i would go check out the cat and would likely want to take it home. And so I did. The conclusion of a wonderful journey opens a new journey with life with a kitten! We are going to name her Tania after a brave young woman explorer. This kitten is just that!!

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