I know we said that Glacier National Park was the most beautiful place in the world that we had ever been to but we have found a challenger – namely the lands along the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway in Wyoming.
Having left Yellowstone and our encounters with Bison, we noticed that the scenery was getting increasingly more and more impressive in a large and wide and unspoilt sense.
Eventually we had to stop and take a photograph – well actually 10 of them because it took a panorama sweep of 10 photos to cover the entirety of what was in front of us. When we get back to the UK we will stitch them together and insert them here.
The above is the start of the sweep and shows a massive escarpment that is so big it just takes over the landscape in that direction.
We looked at each other and knew we were both thinking the same thing – what we were seeing was at least as good as Glacier.
we climbed up a very long, steep and winding road and got to the summit of Dead Indian Pass at 8060ft where the road crosses the Absaroka Range. There was an interesting statue of some Indians there looking out over the lands to the west.
In the middle of this photo is the escarpment photographed earlier.
I have a sweep photo from the top of the pass but it too needs stitching to cover the enormous view we were seeing.
The name of the pass comes from issues related to the Nez Perce War when a tribe of Indians were being pursued (and escaping from) from Government forces.
The other side of the pass is just as impressive with long sweeps of coloured sandstone until it finally quietens down close to Cody.
It is such a different type of landscape to Glacier that we have decided it is “First Equal” – which do I really prefer? I do not know, it depends on what mood I am in!
Cody – a superb museum and some terrible acting
In nearby Cody is one of the best museums we have visited in the US, namely the Buffalo Bill Centre of the West. It is in fact five museums within one complex with museums dealing with: Buffalo Bill Cody; Art; Natural History; the American Indian; and Guns.
The town of Cody was created by investors who enlisted Buffalo Bill Cody to give his name to the town.
He was very famous (and infamous) in his day and one wing of the museum is devoted to him and his life. There would be too much to say about him in a blog so a fuller account of him can be found here.
A Deadwood Stage stagecoach has been included in the gallery because his name was attached to a game which included a model of this stagecoach
there is a Model T Ford of the kind he used later in life,
He created a travelling show which went all over the US and much of Europe including the UK and posters for his show depicted all sorts of exciting acts
His name appeared on numerous penny dreadfuls and the covers of some of these are on display
and one of the most interesting exhibits was a 3-D film of him supposedly speaking created by projecting it onto a smoke screen through which you could walk.
In the natural history section are various tableau of some of the wilder animals found in the west
and the Indian section includes Tepees (with Shining Moonflower appearing from a tepee), statues such as Sacagawea and her child Jean Baptiste (her husband was a guide for Lewis and Clarke who explored much of the west)
examples of traditional Indian craft work
and history hides which tell a story such as the Massacre at Sand Creek in 1864 when 200 Indian people were killed by the US Cavalry.
The art gallery has a reasonable range of work on display, we did not think anything was particularly spectacular but it was good to see some American works of art about American history.
We have often found it very difficult to find a significant collection of art about the country we are travelling through.
One work I particularly liked was “Where great herds come down to drink” painted in 1901 by CM Russell
In the art gallery was a tremendous piece of software which you can use to create pictures such as the masterpiece (!) above. You simply select the picture items you want (mountains, bison, Buffalo Bill etc) from a menu, position and size them and when you have finished you work of art, you can email it to whomever you want.
Now to the terrible acting. In downtown Cody is the Hotel
Irma which was built by Buffalo Bill and named after his daughter. Above is the architects impression drawing
and this is what it looks like today. Every night they close off the street outside of the hotel and stage a gunfight for tourists (and for charity).
The acting is deplorable in a dreadfully deplorably deplorable sort of way. The plot (to call it more than it was) involved a Bank Robbery and then a shoot out.
At the appointed time, there were a few hundred tourists sitting around the street
and we cheered the goodies and booed the baddies and jumped out of our skins whenever a gun went off