Another rustic cabin type motel, only this one has one of the best beds I have ever slept in and I would highly recommend the Cowboy Lodge to anyone visiting Cody Wyoming. It was still raining at check in and the owner even offered up his car if I wanted it. There was a chuck-wagon restaurant with country show next door but Bubba’s BBQ was about a mile up the road so off into the rain again for BBQ.
Didn’t get to sleep in because even though I am on vacation it doesn’t mean I can ignore work completely ( at least not this early into the vacation, it gets easier later) and I had a couple of early morning conference calls to participate in.Â After the calls, it was an easy laid back morning and off to downtown Cody to tour around and shop. Downtown I met a Shaman with a feather and a crystal ball and willing to read my fortune for 50 cents, not one to pass up a bargain I stuck my quarters in the machine and Shaman printed my future for me. He said a call from a stranger will have a pleasant surprise for me ,damn, now I have to start answering my cell phone. He also said that those who have tried to interfere with my happiness will soon find out they have no influence over me at all, ole Shaman pretty darn smart so far. Then he said my calm spirit will see me through emergencies, good omen for a trip like this I think. 50 cents seems like a pretty good deal to see my future.
Finally leave Cody and head east towards the Bighorns. I have taken the southern route from Cody to Sheridan before and decided to take the northern route this time even though the road construction signs were telling my not to. Something seem to be pulling me that direction. The route took me through Powell and then Lovell and on up into the Bighorns. It was a 10 percent grade to the top and on top before getting deep into the mountains I found a spot to park and look out over what appeared to be the whole state of Wyoming, at least the plains. I have posted the pic but it didn’t really do it justice.
Deeper into the mountains a sign appears “Historic Medicine Wheel”, turn left and road immediately turns to dirt and becomes one lane, oh well I’m committed now so I keep going. Another couple of miles and the one lane road ends at a parking lot and the remainder of the road is blocked off and turns into a walking trail. I ask the ranger if Ineed to sign in or anything and she said “No, but it is a 1 1/2 mile trail to the wheel”. I looked up the trail and almost chickened out, it was late looked like rain and that darn trail was steep but hey, I’m here and already committed and the wheel was now becoming a magnet.
The Medicine Wheel is estimated to be 10000 years old and how it got there or the reason it is there is shrouded in mystery but it is still in use today by native Americans as a place of spiritual meaning. The wheel measures approximately 80 feet in diameter and is made of rocks with a central cairn and 28 rock spokes radiating to the outer rim. Placed at various intervals around the rim are six smaller cairns of which 5 touch the outer rim leaving one of the cairns about 10 feet outside the circle. The wheel is a place where many have experienced their vision quest, a place of ritual, a place of prayer, a place of lasting vision. Native Americans and others have left offerings around the perimeter of the wheel.
I slowly circled the wheel taking in all of the offerings left by others and on the second trip around around I stopped on the west side of the wheel in front of one of the cairns. Facing the east I put my hand on one of the posts and I am not sure what happened next, I seemed to be in a trance and the wind came up and blew really hard for 2-3 minutes. I think it was 2-3 minutes, it could have been longer, I lost all sense of time. When I came to, the wind had stopped and I looked over and saw a young lady looking at me like I was a ghost. I smiled at her, but she just continued to stare at me, I turned and walked the other way and started the long trek back down the trail. I seemed to have a lot of energy I didn’t have before, I felt warmer too.
The above picture is a the view from the trail leading to the Medicine Wheel. The wheel is located above 10,000 feet and near timberline, there was still snow in a few spots along the trail. I finally made it back to the trail head and sat on my bike a minute looking back towards the top of the mountain where the wheel is and all I could do was say WOW.
I slowly made my way down the dirt road back to the pavement where I met another biker who wasÂ stopped. He asked if the dirt road was good enough for a motorcycle and if it was worth seeing the wheel. I told him the road was good enough for a motorcycle but once you got to the trail head it was another mile and half of walking. He said “f ck that” and started his bike and turned around. Stupid white man I said to myself.
I headed east and the road gradually climbed in altitude and eventually came to the road construction the signs had warned me about and suggested that I take another route. It was my lucky day because they must have been rained out and even though the signs warned of flagmen and long delays, I never saw them and was able to cruise on through, albeit at 25 mile an hour. I have read about people travelling to Alaska on motorcycles and they described the road as a muddy path where they would often spin out and fall over, pick it up and go again only to spin out and fall over again. Eventually they would make it over the hill only to repeat the process again going uphill. The road I was on now had turned to mud and I was going uphill and thoughts of the Alaskan highway tales filled my mind.
Did I spin out and fall over? Stay tuned.
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