Monday, June 10, 2002

Climbing in Cody, Wyoming

My body was baking and my face sun-ripening when I awoke in a WalMart parking lot in Cody, Wyoming this morning. The others’ sleeping bags and pads lay empty. The last few R.V.’s were warming up their engines and preparing to leave.
I was putting away the sleeping bags when Josh and Nell came strolling out of the Supercenter with fresh grapes, cereal and a half-gallon of milk. It's Day 10 of our road trip. With a midnight escape from Wolf’s Head in the Wind Rivers, a scary fall into a snow hole in the Tetons, and a full day of fishing in Yellowstone yesterday, we deserve it. Since none of our trips ever worked out according to plan, we need a day of preparation before we hit Devil’s Tower in eastern Wyoming.
Even our Straight Creek fishing trip was exhausting. I pulled us over too soon on the Madison to Mammoth Hot Springs highway in Yellowstone, looking at the wrong canyon, and we set off across a marshy meadow that led nowhere. When we ended up at a dry creekbed, I thought that Wyoming’s drought had killed all the little Brook trout that I had come to love while working in Yellowstone three years ago.
It wasn’t till later, as we continued down the road in the bus, that I saw Beaver Lake and realized that we hadn’t come to the stream yet. We fished the stream quickly, just like it’s meant to be fished. Almost every time I got a good float on my fly I got a turbo responses from Brookies in the riffles, with a few hook-ups.
We made it back to the car in time to drive up to the Lamar region in the northeast section of the park. We saw the wolves come out into the meadows and start to play near three buffalo. A late night drive had gotten us to Cody, where we hoped to do some errands as well as a little climbing before heading to Devil’s Tower.
Driving into town after our breakfast of Cinnamon Life and Honey Bunches of Oats, we found ourselves surrounded by an entire town that had gathered for a fourth of July parade. We just wanted to do some laundry and buy a guide book for Devil’s Tower but nothing was open. When we finally found a laundromat, a passerby told us with some disgust we should be out watching the parade. We packed up and went to a climbing area near town for the afternoon.

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