On Labor Day we took a day trip to Sunlight Basin, about 40 miles NW of Cody. These pictures are taken from Dead Indian Summit, a viewpoint and historical marker. These pictures don't even compare to the breathtaking expanse of this area. It has the most diverse altitude changes I have seen in one area, and when you think you are at the bottom, you look over and see a deep, snakey crevace carved though the valley, and when you think you are at the top, you see a higher towering shadow of a mountain emerge around the corner. It is emerald green in the early summer. The significance is this:
The Nez Perce lived in this area, and as the army came to round them up, they used the gorges, valleys and creeks to backtrack and circle, so that the army could not track them. They made their way up and out of the basin by this road we are on, and at this summit, had to leave behind a dying member if the tribe. When the army reached him, they killed him. In the picture with the gold grasses in the foreground, you can see the main thoroughfare of the basin in the top right corner. We drove through there. Millions of buffalo, along with elk, deer and antelope, migrated through here every year. This was the place of Buffalo Bill Cody's last big game hunt, with the Prince of Monaco. In the picture with the fenceposts in the foreground, there is a huge table butte, and Maren insisted that one day we go there to have a picnic.
The thing that struck me most about this place, was that it was so well hidden and remote, yet teeming with life and sustenance. I would imagine that any people who called this home would be very proud of it, and very heartbroken to ever leave it. There are several ranches and cabins, a ranger station, and campgrounds there, and the fishing is incredible. It is a special place and we will make a trip to see it in all seasons.