On my way up Highway 14, through the Bighorn Mountains, I kept my eyes peeled for a cow moose and her new spring calf grabbing some lunch in a lush mountain meadow or a sow and her cubs making their way through the woods back to their den. A meadow just north of Sibley Lake finally provided just what I was looking for. A moose munching on the willow bushes looked up for the perfect photo.
While she didn’t seem to mind the attention, she was more interested in her lunch. The perfect wildlife shot inspired me to keep hunting for another perfect photo, so I made the decision to continue down the mountain roads to see what else I could find. As I came around a bend, before Arrowhead Lodge, I noticed a few purple flowers on the side of the road. I pulled over to take my chances at another great photo opportunity. Once I stepped out of my car to snap a picture of the beautiful purple flower, I noticed wildflowers of all colors dispersed across the side of the mountain.
The purple flowers are my favorite, though – Lupine. When I was a child, my mom used to read me a book about a woman who spread lupine seeds along the countryside as a way to make the world a more beautiful place. The Bighorn Mountains don’t need any help being beautiful, but the purple lupine make it feel more like paradise.
The tiny blue flowers were Bluebells, the daintiest, most beautiful little flower I’ve ever seen in the Bighorn Mountains. The heavy flowers pulled down on the weak stem, which makes it resemble a bell. I thought it looked more like a fairy skirt, a thought that makes the Bighorn Mountains seem a little bit more magical.
I walked through the sea of wildflowers up the road for about a half a mile, pretending to be a photographer with my cell phone when I came upon a pinkish-red flower, the Indian Paintbrush. The Indian Paintbrush is named for the resemblance to a paint brush that has been dipped in paint and has been the Wyoming state flower since 1917.
A refreshing drive through the cool, clean mountain air should be in the doctor’s prescription for everyone this spring. If you’re paying attention, you might spot a cow moose and calf pair, but you don’t have to be looking closely to see the beauty it possesses. Wildlife and wildflowers are just a few of the many wonders of the Bighorn Mountains and if you look closely, you may find beauty in unexpected places.
Bailey McLean | Sheridan Travel & Tourism