Middle Fork Campground

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A creek runs through it!

We discovered this peaceful little campground this spring and it was still just as beautiful in the fall! We drove past all the camp sites and set up our chairs at the end of the road. While Grandma Mary relaxed in her chair, our 3 year old threw leaves in the creek, “hunted” for squirrels and had sword fights with the trees. If you are driving through the Big Horns and are looking for a place right off the road but with privacy, the Middle Fork Campground is worth the stop!

Veteran’s Cove

The sun was beginning to set when we reached Meadowlark Lake and we were greeted by the soft quacking of ducks. We parked and walked down the grass path a short distance to the beaver dam where two beavers were at work. They swam through the water, unfazed by our presence or the hushed squeals of our 3 year old.

Even though there are cabins on the other side of the beaver pond, it felt like we were the only people around. This is the special magic of the Big Horns — solitude under a great big sky.

We stayed until dark and the sliver of moon lit up the sky. It was a peaceful drive back through the woods even though, to our son’s disappointment, we saw a moose but no Big Foot!

Veteran’s Cove is located next to the Meadow Lark Ski Lodge in the Big Horn Mountains, about 40 miles from Buffalo, Wyoming.

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Chief Washakie

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This famous chief has several small monuments in his honor at the Chief Washakie Cemetary in the town named for him – Fort Washakie on the Wind River Indian Reservation.  Its a short distance away from the Sacajewea Cemetary and Trading Post, one of the stops I take visitors to when giving a tour of the reservation.  I will let him tell his own story, in his own words…

“The white man, who posseses this whole vast country from sea to sea, who roams over it at pleasure and lives where he likes, cannot know the cramp we feel in this little spot, with the underlying remembrance of the fact, which you know as well as we, that every foot of what you proudly call America not very long ago belonged to the red man.  The Great Spirit gave it to us. There was room for all His many tribes, and all were happy in that freedom.”  Chief Washakie

Chief Washakie, c.1804-1900, a chief of the Eastern Shoshone Indians, is remembered for his fighting exploits and as the friend of the White Man.   In the 1850’s, he helped the wagon trains passing through and helped herd strayed cattle.  However, although the calvary put up a monument to him, Washakie was bitter in the way his people were treated.  

“I say again, the government does not keep its word!” Chief Washakie

Old Time Trading Post

Ft. Washakie, Wyoming - a great place to browse for gifts.

Ft. Washakie, Wyoming – a great place to browse for gifts.

The Trading Post is the best place to shop on the Wind River Reservation! They have everything from jewelry to authentic Indian crafts to t-shirts. I bought my toddler a drum made of leather and rawhide from here. (Not only was it a unique, one of a kind gift but the best part is that he can thump it and it makes just enough noise to make him happy and is quiet enough to protect my eardrums.)

The Trading Post also is home to a museum that you can tour for free with beautiful Indian artifacts. Its worth the stop – especially since it is on the way to the Sacajewea Cemetary.

Sacajawea, our Shoshone Princess

An interesting place to visit on the Wind River Reservation is the Sacajewea Cemetary which oral tradition says is the final resting place of the famous Indian Guide, Sacajewea.

The Cemetary is tucked away beneath the Wind River Mountains at Fort Washakie, a tiny town on the Wind River Reservation. When you ask for directions at the Trading Post, you will be told to go down the road for a mile and half and turn at the stand of trees. Through the gates and up the hill, you will see a statue of Sacajewa, celebrating her time at the ocean. You can also visit her grave where people leave tokens to honor her and remember her.

I personally am a strong supporter of oral tradition and believe my ancestors knew who the old woman was who died in 1884. In that time, it was not a thing of pride to admit the old Shoshone woman had led the white men through this country. I recommend reading “Walk Softly, This is God’s Country”, the Letters and Journals of Reverend John Roberts. He met and interviewed the Old Lady and was convinced she was who her son Baptiste claimed – the one who led Lewis and Clark on their journey.

Whether or not you believe this oral history, it is worth a visit to what we believe is Sacajawea’s final resting place!