A few weeks back I partnered up with the Wyoming Office of Tourism to do a tour around northcentral and northeast Wyoming . The trip was a such a success that they invited back south for a three-week excursion, and, quite frankly, a dream trip that I couldn’t imagine passing up. So I packed my bags and headed for my first stop–Cody, Wyoming.
Now, being from Billings I’m no stranger to Cody but there were still spots that I wanted to explore. I arrived in the morning for a quick scout of the town before heading to my favorite place in Cody–the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Encompassing five different museums, this trip marked my third visit to the museum and while there’s still more to explore, my favorite aspect of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is the Cody Firearms Museum which houses the largest collection of North American firearms in the world. I’ve always been fascinated with history and the unique guns found here always pique my interest.
After staring at beautiful guns all morning it was time to fire them, so I headed over the Cody Firearms Experience. I arrived and they told me to take my pick of guns that covered the walls, so of course I decided to fire the classics. My selection included a 1795 flintlock musket, a .45 rooster shooter (John Wayne’s gun of choice), an 1873 Winchester lever action rifle, and a freaking Gatling gun! After making all of my childhood dreams come true and wiping the grin off my face, I headed over to the world-famous Cody Nite Rodeo where I dusted off my cowboy boots, busted out my belt buckle and photographed one of my favorite sports (and the official sport of Wyoming), rodeo.
Things to do and see:
-Buffalo Bill Center of the West
-Cody Nite Rodeo
-Yellowstone National Park
Where to eat and drink:
-Shiki Japanese Restaurant
-Proud Cut Saloon n’ Steak House
-Silver Dollar Bar
-If you’re really into western history, Cody is a not-to-be-missed destination on your Wyoming trip. Be sure to catch the Cody Gunfighters and Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue.
From Cody, I headed to the climbing community of Lander, and upon rolling into town I felt instantly at home. There were converted sprinter vans on every corner and big signs in windows that said: “climbers welcome.” For being kind of in the middle of nowhere Wyoming (in the best way possible), there was a great community of young and ambitious people. Even though I’m not much of a climber I’ve always fit in with the climber culture of van-dwelling adventurers who are more concerned with getting their daily dose of vitamin D than sitting in an office all day…even if it means sacrificing a microbrew for a can of PBR from time to time. My first stop was to the Lander Bakeshop and I instantly fell in love with this local coffee shop…so much so that I visited it six times over the next three days.
My first big activity of the day was to meet up with Wind River Climbing Guides in Sink River Canyon to rope up and get to climbing. My other experience with roped climbing up until this point was in Macedonia, where they didn’t have size 14 climbing shoes so I ended up climbing in tennis shoes. This time I came prepared and brought along my new climbing shoes. My guide, Kyle, quickly lead climbed and set up the ropes on my first climb of the day, a 5.6 route to get me warmed up. After scurrying up this route Kyle decided to challenge me a little more with a 5.8 route. This definitely challenged my rookie climbing skills, but eventually, I made it up feeling accomplished. We ended the day with a rappel off an overhang and headed out for a celebratory steak dinner at the legendary Svilar’s Bar and Steakhouse in the nearby town of Hudson.
The next day I took a quick trip over to Butch Cassidy’s former stomping grounds of Dubois, Wyoming. This cute little town has lots of history and character packed into a short main street. I was given the low down that Dubois had one of the best thrift shops in Wyoming, the Opportunity Shop, and I was not disappointed. From there I met up with Anita who owns and operates Wyoming Wool and has been making wool saddle blankets for decades. Finally, I wandered over to the Welty’s General Store, which has been operating since 1889 and was said to be where Butch Cassidy got many of his supplies.
Back in Lander, I settled in for a local beer from Lander Brewing and a ridiculously good burger from the Lander Bar/Gannett Grill. After shaking off my food coma I headed over to Museum of the American West to watch the Eagle Spirit Dancers’ weekly performance. This was one of the highlights of my time in Lander as not only did I get to witness many different styles of traditional native dancing, but also hear the many stories and traditions behind each one.
My time in Lander was far too short and I’m already planning to come back this fall to work on my climbing skills as well as backpack up into the Wind Rivers… and maybe a few more baked goods from the Lander Bakeshop.
-Sinks Canyon State Park
-The Inn at Lander
Things to do and see:
-Eagle Spirit Dancers
-Rock climbing in Sinks Canyon
-Kayak the Popo Agie River
Where to eat and drink:
-Lander Bake Shop
-The Middle Fork
-Svilar’s Bar and Steakhouse
-While I bunked in my van at Sinks Canyon State Park, check out the yurts that are available for rent year-round at this park.
Week two I headed off to Pinedale, WY to trade my van for a tiny home, but more on that in the next blog!
As always, thanks for following and happy adventuring!
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Travel Wyoming . The opinions and text are all mine.