Wild horses and dining out in Cody, Wyoming

In my previous post, I told you about the cowboys portion of the wild horses, cowboys and western photography workshop I attended in Wyoming last year. This post is about the other half of the workshop, the wild horses.

Cody Cowboy Village

We stayed at Cody Cowboy Village, driving out to the McCullough Peaks wild horse range every day at dawn and early evening.

Our cabins were air-conditioned with king size beds, TV and free wifi. Some may say it’s kitschy, but I loved the cowboy/western themed decor.

Cody Cowboy Village. Cody Cowboy Village.

I had paid the single supplement and so had a cabin to myself. I had paid the single supplement and so had a cabin to myself.

Loved the cowboy boot wallpaper! My favourite feature of my cabin was the cowboy-themed wallpaper in the bathroom.

My bed was very comfortable. In my favourite hotel rooms, I can watch TV in bed – TV in a separate lounge is always a disappointment! I watched TV, surfed the internet and sent emails from this very comfortable bed.

The office/reception building was opposite my front window, across the driveway. The office/reception building was opposite my front door. There’s no onsite restaurant; we ate our meals at local Cody restaurants. The vending machines were handy, and ice for drinks was available for free from reception. The front porch was our group’s rendezvous point for our twice-daily excursions to the wild horse range.

Each cabin had its own porch. Each cabin had its own porch… but I was content to chill out in the comfort and privacy of my cabin.

Continental breakfast was served in the small dining room each morning. Complimentary continental breakfast was served in the small dining room each morning (we missed it most mornings). There was a swimming pool too, which I didn’t use.

Wild horses, McCullough Peaks

We met up each morning at 5am to drive out to the wild horse range to take photographs. When the light got too ‘crispy’, we returned to downtown Cody for breakfast. We returned each evening after early dinner to take more photos before last light.

Our workshop leaders, photographers Jess and Tamara are experienced guides, extremely knowledgeable about horses and the behaviour of the mustang herd. They navigated our group through the scrub and bumpy trails to locate the herd, which was in a different part of the range each time, either grazing, sleeping, or gathered at a watering hole. Tamara had an amazing eye and spotted the tiny specks in the distance way before I ever did. I marvelled at how we never got lost in the open range with minimal landmarks (well, that’s how it appeared to my untrained eye). We’d park the vehicle a distance away, grab whatever photography equipment we needed, and approach the horses on foot. For safety reasons, we didn’t get too close to them and stayed alert, ready to retreat if necessary to avoid danger. When the herd decided to move on, it was usually time to head back to our vehicle. I used both of my zooms, 18-55mm and 55-200mm. I’d have loved an even longer lens to get even closer, but I’m waiting on Fujifilm to release one for my camera.

I don’t know much about horses; I have never ridden a horse, and to be honest, have no desire to. But it was wonderful being here to observe and photograph these beautiful wild creatures just being themselves.

Watch where you walk!We watched where we walked to avoid hazards like snakes (no one saw any), cactus (LOTS of cactus), uneven terrain and potholes.






DSCF1327smThis black-headed one liked to stand in the watering hole away from the rest of the herd and munch on the grass.


DSCF1425smBreakfast buffet time at the wild horse range.



DSCF1579smBands of young bachelors hung around together.






DSCF1668smThis grey stallion was very protective and never far from this bay mare.


DSCF1319smThis is the grey stallion and bay mare again. Even when she seemed to be walking alone, she wasn’t.


Mirror, mirror, mirror. Mirror, mirror, mirror.

DSCF2288smLet sleeping horses… stand.

We narrowly avoided being caught in a storm on one of the days. We narrowly avoided being caught in a storm on one of the days. This is Jess against the big dark sky.


This foal was just gorgeous,  a miniature horse with a tufty mane. This foal was just gorgeous, a miniature horse with a tufty mane.




Dining out in Cody, Wyoming

I stocked up on muesli bars (the kind with rolled oats and honey) to snack on in the morning so I wouldn’t get too hungry out on the range before we got back for our first meal of the day.

We tried quite a few Cody restaurants during our stay. We dined as a group but as meals weren’t included in the workshop cost, we paid for our meals individually.

The Irma Hotel dining room. On our first evening in Cody, we got to know each other over dinner at the historic Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel.

Prime rib buffet at The Irma.A few of our group chose The Famous Irma Prime Rib Buffet, which includes slow roasted prime rib, BBQ pork or buffalo ribs, pasta, veggies, salad bar and more (US$25.99 adults).

Chicken fried chicken (US$17.99) at The Irma Hotel.I ordered from the a la carte menu: chicken fried chicken (US$16.99) – tender chicken breast, breaded and fried, with country gravy and mashed potato. I love chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak and ate both throughout my travels in the US. I washed it down with unsweetened iced tea. Unsweetened iced tea, root beer and water were my drinks of choice whenever we dined out.

Irma Skillet (US$9.29), Irma HotelWe had breakfast one morning at The Irma – I ordered the Irma Skillet (US$9.29) with hash browns, fried onions, bacon, mushrooms and two scrambled eggs, served with sourdough toast.

DSCF1686We ate a couple of times at Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant.

BBQ Chicken Special (US$9.29), Bubba's Bar-B-Que RestaurantLunch: BBQ Chicken Special (US$9.29), hickory wood slow smoked chicken topped with Bubba’s Bar-B-Que sauce, served with garlic bread and your choice of two sides (I chose fries and corn). The chicken was saucy and succulent.

Smoked sausage scramble (US$9.99)  with a Bubba's biscuit.Breakfast: smoked sausage scramble (US$9.99) with smoked sausage medallions, green peppers and onions, scrambled eggs, potatoes (I chose home fries) and a choice of English muffin, toast or a Bubba’s biscuit (I chose the biscuit, delicious with butter and grape jelly).

Bubba's Bar-B-Que Restaurant Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant

Corn chips and salsa at Zapata's.We ate a couple of meals at Zapata’s, one of the Mexican restaurants in town. The complimentary corn chips and salsa were extremely moreish. I really liked Bubba’s. The food was good (loved the biscuits!) and the service was friendly.

Chile verde with rice and beans, Zapata's Zapata’s chile verde (US$10.99), tortillas, rice and beans. I enjoyed the green chile and pork but wow, it was fiery, much spicier than the chile verde I had in Santa Paula. Thank goodness for the free refills of root beer!

DSCF1714Zapata’s dining room.

Chicken piccata (US$16.99), Adriano's Italian.At Adriano’s Italian Restaurant, I had my first ever chicken piccata (US$16.99) – sauteed chicken breast in a wonderfully tart lemon butter and caper sauce with sweet slices of garlic, served on al dente pasta, with side salad and Italian bread. The salad and bread were nothing special, but I really wanted to lick my plate clean.

Buffalo cheese burger (US$9.75), Sunset House.Sunset House was always extremely busy. Here, I ate my first buffalo cheese burger (US$9.75) – I’d happily eat buffalo again, and not just because it has fewer calories and is lower in cholesterol than beef. It tasted very much like a lean beef. The cheese was Swiss, melted, gooey and chewy.

It was just after 11am. “Are you serving breakfast or lunch?” I asked our server. “Anything you like” was the answer as she poured the coffee. And so, my final meal in Cody was a fried chicken dinner with peas and mashed potatoes (topped with a layer of country gravy) – at Granny’s. The chicken was popping hot with super crispy batter, really delicious. The gravy and creamy mashed potatoes were great too. The peas were somewhat overdone but let’s face it, I didn’t order the chicken dinner for the peas.

Fried chicken (US$12.29), Granny's. My chicken dinner (US$12.29) also included a bowl of the soup of the day, spicy bean. The chicken dinner was satisfying, finger-licking-good fuel for my journey onward to Denver, Colorado.

DSCF7597We’d missed the mad breakfast rush (thank goodness). In this photo, Granny’s salad bar is on the right, which was being set up for the lunch shift.

Dr. Enuf.One morning, Tommy from Texas gave me a bottle of Dr. Enuf to try. It’s a soft drink bottled in Tennessee, lemon-lime flavoured and marketed as an energy booster, enriched with vitamins including thiamine (Vitamin B1), niacin (Vitamin B3), potassium and iodine. I liked it!

Something we'd never see back home...We drove past this Fireworks factory outlet on Yellowstone Avenue every day to/from the wild horse range. I was fascinated and had to take a picture – didn’t get a chance to go inside though. This is something I’d never see back home, of course.

Wyoming Cowboys, Wild Horses and Western Photography workshop

The workshop was run by Jess Lee and Tamara Gooch. The 2014 tour was from 1 to 8 August (the dates vary year to year).
The cost was US$2995 plus $350 single supplement which covered guiding, ground transfers and accommodation. Meals were not included in the cost.

For the cowboys portion of the workshop, we stayed at:
K Bar Z Guest Ranch & Outfitters
Shoshone National Forest, next to Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming USA
We took photographs of the cowboys and cowgirls in action at K Bar Z and surrounding properties.

For the wild horses portion of the workshop, we stayed at:
Cody Cowboy Village
203 W Yellowstone Ave
Cody, Wyoming USA
We drove out to the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area to photograph the wild horses each day.

Cody Restaurants

The Irma Hotel
1192 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming USA

Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant
512 Yellowstone Avenue, Cody, Wyoming USA

1362 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming USA

Adriano’s Italian Restaurant
1244 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming USA

Sunset House Restaurant
1651 8th Street, Cody, Wyoming USA

Granny’s Restaurant
1550 Sheridan Ave, Cody, Wyoming USA

My solo USA trip (2014) – about this series

I travelled alone to the United States from late July to mid-August. This trip covered California, Wyoming and Colorado. The primary reason for the trip was to attend a couple of workshops, one on hot air balloon photography and the other on photographing wild horses and cowboys. I also caught up with an old school friend.

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