horses

AMAZING morning sunrise.  Watched for half-hour before rustling up breakfast – eggs & chicken-apple sausage (sadly, warm runny eggs/pan-fried 20 minutes).  Brushed teeth, shut up the tent, tethered Ro to my belt – HIKE day!

Mile/mile-half drive DOWN from my camp site.  Secured parking near Rotary Park, short tenth-mile walk to Garden Creek Falls.

Previously trekked this trail, day-before the Casper Marathon 2015.

[June 2015] …hiked Casper Mountain.  Not the Rockies experience of the Bighorns, but a good 5-mile day hike.  Probably not the best prep, day before a marathon but…I’m a lover of mountains.

Bridle Trail: 5 mile loop up/over the Falls.  June 2015 vs August 2017?  Today, whole lotta hikers.  Whole lotta COLORADO hikers.  Appears much of the Front Range arrived in Wyoming overnight & were doing what Coloradans do – get OUTDOORS.  Literally met only ONE Wyoming-based family on today’s trail.  [Thanks to Ro – everyone stops & says hi.  He’s a very pet-able Pup. 🙂 ]

Englemann spruce, Rocky Mountain juniper, Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Green Ash, Cottonwood, Chokeberry, Quaking Aspen.  This trail’s a tree BONANZA, landscape more reminiscent of Boulder County than Central Wyoming.

Bridle hiked counter-clockwise, finishing over the Mountain’s rock-canyon outcropping.  WIDE-OPEN Casper 2800 feet below, today’s WOW shot (‘though skyline bit hazy due to BC/Western Canada forest fires).

Picnic’d by the Falls, then drove into town before roads closed for tomorrow’s eclipse.  YMCA-showered (FREE/very much appreciated!), check’d out the Cowboy Code of Ethics, shopped Wyoming’s (dog-friendly) Eclipse Festival.

7pm ‘til after next day’s TOTAL Eclipse (noon-ish) – Mountain gated off from Casper.

Dusk-walked Ro by our camp owner’s wild mustang rescue.  BEAUTIFUL horse.  Another pink, high mountain sunset.  Dinner plans?  Shrimp, mushrooms & olives in a wilted bed of spinach.  Camping B-I-G on BIRTHDAY weekend ❤

 

 

Bridle Trail, Casper WY

 

 

 

Late arrival in Buffalo, cabin rental 20 minutes west of Dayton.  Buffalo NY, Dayton Ohio?  Heck no.  I’m talking Wyoming.  In town for Saturday’s ultra, Bighorn.  One mile shake-out run along State Hwy 14, road trippin’ after breakfast.

Montana.  2 hours north on I-90.

Forty Mile Colony.  Lodge Grass.  Crow Agency.  Today’s destination: Little Bighorn Battlefield on the Crow Reservation.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn (commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand) was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which occurred June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.

 

The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall and had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. 7th Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, suffered a major defeat. Five of the 7th Cavalry’s twelve companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. The total U.S. casualty count included 268 dead and 55 severely wounded (six died later from their injuries), including four Crow Indian scouts and two Pawnee Indian scouts.

Purchased a guided tour at the Visitors Center, operated by Apsaalooke Tours (affiliated with the Crow Nation Office of Tourism).  Bus tour was led by an enthusiastic Apsaalooke [Crow].  Details of the battle & war strategy were painstakingly reviewed.  Additionally our guide shared his language, teaching [us] multiple native words: hello, goodbye, bird, coyote, mustang, mountain.

While I struggled with his accent & the story, the landscape around me was breathtaking.  LOVED being here.  Life is about seizing opportunity.  I could have laid low the day before Bighorn…but a short 2 hours away, engaged/partook/learned ‘bout Custer’s Last Stand, a significant piece of U.S. history – a story retold by descendants of the native people who won that battle.

Inspired, I needed to know – so, how did it all end?

After Custer’s defeat, Sitting Bull, along with his people, fled north to Canada.  In 1881, he returned to the United States to surrender.  Sitting Bull was killed by Indian police on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota on December 15, 1890.

Sad end to the Lakota spiritual leader – resisted westward expansion, in an effort to preserve the Lakota way of life.

 

 

Little Bighorn Battlefield

 

 

 

In modern times, this prearranged meeting known as the “First Look” has become a special moment in weddings. This is usually coordinated with the photographer to find a somewhat secluded, private space that the couple can meet. Often the groom has his back turned towards the bride as she walks up to greet him. Once the two meet they share an intimate moment that can be beautifully captured by photo + video.

 

One of the added benefits of having the First Look before the ceremony is that you now have the opportunity to take photos together. Many times the couple will choose to also take family and formal photos in this time period so after the ceremony they can go straight to the reception or cocktail hour.

 

Another benefit of having the First Look is that it’s highly unlikely you will be late to your ceremony as you’ve already been dressed and ready well before the start time.

 

Always good to have a Plan B.

Because Ash selected a Connecticut-based photographer (she schooled East Coast), two months ago I travelled to Silverthorne & scoped out potential wedding shot locations.  Sapphire Point: snow-capped peaks, frozen Lake Dillon, short hike, ample trailhead parking.

Fast forward to yesterday.  Quick ride UP to Sapphire Point to check out snow conditions (bride would be hiking in a dress).  Same trail, same ample parking but with 30 folding chairs in our spot.  Appears on THIS hiking trail, at THIS particular spot, May thru October, one can pay $110 & reserve OUR spot for a 2-hour window thru recreation.org.  Trail is not restricted from hiking but the overlook – key for pictures – no longer available.  Are you kidding me?!

2 hours to secure a new spot – and tell the bride, day before her wedding.  BIG father-of-the-bride moment.  No worries, I’ve got this.

Private dirt road on the drive to Wilp Manor (the Wilpiszeski’s home rental), found my Plan B.  Rustic farm equipment, wooden fence posts against a HUGE mountain backdrop – mountain pics, #1 criteria of the bride.

Plan A – my Sis & family would drive to Sapphire Point while the photographer is doing ‘First Look’ pics at the wedding venue.  She’d physically hold our spot assuming there is not a 2nd wedding conflict.  Plan B – rustic farm & mountain.

 

Wedding Day.  Morning jog along the Blue River, running high from snow melt.  Spent the day in nearby Frisco with family.  But most important: no rain, no snow, no clouds – only SUNSHINE on Ashton’s BIG day, her WEDDING day.

  • 3pm:  stayed tucked inside the venue, while bride & groom had their ‘First Look’ moment.
  • 3:15pm:  got the call from Sis, going with Plan B.
  • 3:45pm:  Bride, Groom, Maid-of-Honor & Best Man – all piled into my Prius.  Photographer to follow.

 

Everything happens for a reason.

What I didn’t know (because of yesterday’s inclement weather) – Plan B’s wood posts fenced in a horse farm.  Sunshine bounced off snow-capped peaks.  Springtime Aspen hued multiple shades of green.  Breathtaking, absolutely perfect.

More perfect?

Add 2 dozen elk.  Just WOW.

 

 

Wedding Day ELK!

 

 

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