When's the last time you did something, for the first time?
" Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit." (Frank Borman)
Imagine what life would really be like, what it could be like, if we approached each day like this??
For some, riding a snow mobile is like walking to the kitchen; an every day occurrence. Others have never attempted them, and the rest of us... we did that as a child, with a parent or an uncle and then it, too, went by the way-side.
What caused me to get on one, on LEAP Day 2020? (I hadn't been on one since 3rd grade, and frankly, never thought I'd be on one again).
A series of events...... that started last August. I was headed over to Powell, for my nephew's 5th birthday party. As I strolled through the mountains on highway 14-A, I saw this sign (sans the snow):
and thought, "I'll have to check into that." (after-all a concierge needs to know what's going on around them)
The morning of New Years Eve, I was at the grocery, when some young fella asked me if I worked up there? (he thought he saw me get out of their truck) Um, no.... I don't.
Alas, the adventure... kicked in.
For the most part, you can't get there, from Sheridan, or the Big Horn Basin, strictly by car, in the winter. Nope. It's remote. There are a couple way.... and one of them includes snow-mobiles.
Not fully sure where I was going, or how to get there, I reached out to a few people, with sleds, and nothing manifested. So I reached out to my best adventurous side-kick (or wing man, depending on the situation), who I knew would haul my guts out of the tree, and started the planning.
I looked into renting a cabin at the Wyoming High Country, alas, they were sold out! (dang it)
So with plan B, we'd just go up for the day, I made a reservation for a snow-mobile (a double - since It had been a long time since I had been on one, and could I drive one? My last experience did not end well) and we would meet up on top of the mountain at 8:30 a.m. on February 29.
What would the luck be? that as we arrived at Bear Lodge, entering the Sled-Rental Shop, that two would be available? That we could each have our own ride? Hell ya! It's February 29, 2020! (travel tip: start memorizing ICE phone numbers. That way you can leave your phone at home - seriously UNPLUG - yet you'll have that person who can come dig your belongings out of the snow bank)
We went and saw Dr. Don, to get the rental agreements - being led back to see him, felt a little like I was going to the back of the house of the casino related to The Chief motel in Las Vegas (all that was missing was a bunch of people playing cards). Dr. Don, with his western shirt, vest and cowboy hat on, made me feel as though I was talking to Junior Brown. He was very kind. And reiterated the theme for the day "Stay on the Trail."
So saddling up, away we went. 24 miles... staying on the trail. I can't lie, I saw where people went off and it looked like fun.
Even if your buddy had to crawl to help you dig out your ride. Wendi Linn just kept saying "stay on the trail."
Wendi Linn and I.
As we drove across the snow, both of us felt the responsibilities of life lift. Although she had a couple thoughts that never crossed my mind: "are we going to hit a soft spot and sink?" and if an angry moose would appear from the woods, could we out run it? Considering - at some point when she was in the lead - that she wondered where I was, she was apparently only worried that she could outrun this moose!
We both were enamoured with the gorgeous day, and wondered when we could do this again? More so, WHY hadn't we done this before?
For two women who had never driven their own sleds, we drove them like rock stars! Feeling, ALIVE and FREE, and that Life is a grand adventure, full of possibilities.
We enjoyed a game or two of tic-tac-toe and the memory game, supplied for us by the lodge:
We walked around, took some pictures; enjoyed a simple lunch at the High Country Lodge, as people streamed in, from their morning of Snow-Kiting (which we got to see on our way home).
The lodge itself, although big over all, is small in other ways. Quaint. Lovely. Personable. Easy. Had I brought my colored pencils, I probably could have stayed all afternoon.
On our way back to Bear Lodge (aka "home"), we stopped for 20 minutes or so, and just watched the Snow-Kiting. The "kites" were in different colors, and seemed to be in different sizes and shapes, though I suspect similar in other ways. With the blue sky and not a soul nearby, it was peaceful and invigorating, at the same time.
This little gem, tucked away in the mountains is full of activities - for both those, that are able to go and stay... and for the day adventurer.... whether it be winter, or summer.
My recommendation is that if you go for just the day, go early - stay late. Your soul will thank you.