Monday, February 4, 2013
Bighorn Canyon: A lesser known treasure waiting to be discovered
By Christy Fleming
With the beginning of a new year, many people are talking about and trying to keep New Year’s resolutions, most related to becoming healthier in 2013. I have to admit, I was planning to follow suit and decided a New Year’s Eve hike on the Sullivan’s Knob Trail was the best way to get started. I came back to the office with a much different resolution.
Bighorn Canyon has been called a lesser known treasure waiting to be discovered. While walking on the Sullivan’s Knob trail on that wintery afternoon, enveloped in the stillness, I had to agree. As the cold air numbed my ears and nose, I felt totally alone. I soon realized that I was the first person to walk the trail since the last snow storm several days ago. The sun was warm, but the breeze was cold. I stopped to take advantage of the shelter provided by a juniper bush. It was so quiet. I wondered where the sheep were. I usually see them on this trail, but decided they had more sense than me. As I reached the canyon, I noticed the ice was beginning to form on the lake in the shadows of the 1000 foot cliffs. The wind stopped just long enough to truly enjoy the view. The sun warmed the colors of the canyon. It was so clear the snow-caped Bighorn Mountains stood out against the blue sky with not a single cloud brave enough to disrupt the view. The point I stood at is where a side canyon meets the main canyon and is known as the spot where you can get a triple echo. I couldn’t break the silence. It was too perfect.
As I followed my solitary tracks back to the truck, I took one more moment to appreciate the silence and the place. I realized how lucky I am to be able to consider this area as part of my big back yard and wondered how many people truly know about this and other amazing places in Bighorn Canyon. By the time I made it back my resolution had changed.
We sometimes take for granted the amazing resources we have in this area and I have resolved in 2013 to share my love and appreciation for this place with others. I hope to inspire new visitors to explore and old visitors to renew their passion for Bighorn Canyon with this monthly column and creative programming throughout the year. I would love to hear suggestions for column and speaker topics. Keep in mind, this is your National Park.
Christy Fleming has worked at Bighorn Canyon for 14 years working her way through the ranks from the ditch rider to the Chief of Interpretation.