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Welcome to Wyoming

I really like this quote from Finis Mitchell, a man who grew up since 1906 in the Wind Rivers, and was a fishing outfitter all his life.  Finis  stocked most of the lakes there, carrying them in by horseback.

Throughout this century I’ve roamed this wilderness, communing with nature, observing other creatures along with myself, merely desiring to live and let live.  Because of this aloneness, I’ve learned to love, not only those of my own kind, but all life within a wilderness; the birds, the beasts, the trees, the flowers, and the grasses of the land.  Only in wilderness, it seems, is man’s love so thoroughly and completely returned, so unselfishly shared.

I arrived here on Saturday, after driving out from the Bay Area.  I’m a real whimp when it comes to snowy roads and since Cody had a minor snowstorm on Friday, I waited till Saturday to go over the 8000 ft. pass to my cabin, choosing instead to stay in a warm house with a Cody friend.

The students who are studying elk and wolves in my valley had been staying in the cabin.  They cleaned it up real nice before I arrived and B___ will be staying here with me.  She’s temporarily hired on to follow ‘Spud’, the nickname the guys gave the Idaho wolf who’s traveled  all the way across Yellowstone to end up in my area.  He’s radio collared and she’s acting as his GPS, tracking him every 4 hours.  Apparently he’s been hanging with a female.  Maybe they’re going to mate.

Sunday I went out with B_____ to help with telemetry.  I’m learning.  Its basically what I do when I measure a yard to initiate a site plan on paper.  Of course, I call it triangulating and am just measuring point C from point A and point B, with Points A & B usually being the house corners, and point C being a tree.  In this case, we take measurements in the field using something that looks like an antenna hooked to a radio with the frequency dialed in.  We get an approximate signal location, take a GPS reading, then drive down the highway to 4 or 5 other locations and do the same.  The GPS points are then plotted on a map (or a computer program…note, I haven’t done this part yet!) and voila! there is the animal.  Well, at least approximately.

We took 5 locations, then went down a side road to try and get a sighting of Spud, where we got immediately stuck in the snow in our Ford ‘Heavy Duty’ Truck.  After an hour of digging, opening up our sand bags in the back to find them frozen (frozen sand, that’s impossible to break!), hunting for some wood to put under the tires; we finally broke free.  We never did see Spud.  But yesterday B___ went out alone and while getting a location on him, the helicopter came down right near her and captured and tagged the female he’s been hanging around with a GPS collar.

Telemetry is interesting.  But seeing wolves is much more fun.  I was sorry I missed the collaring, up close and personal.  But I figured that B___ spent the whole summer tracking wolves without catching a glimpse of one.  Meanwhile, I’ve already had a few really close encounters, out in the wild, in my valley.  One thing I did receive though, was a ‘Welcome to Wyoming’ lesson in snow.  I learned:  always carry a shovel in the car and if you carry a sand bag for weight, make sure it doesn’t get wet.

3 Responses



  2. Nice. You’re on to something here. Beautiful site but remember Koda and his tennis balls . . . they can dominate his focus. Good things will come of this just as good things have come of Koda and his tennis ball.

    The Lakota say . . . life is simple . . . you throw the ball, catch the ball and return the ball.


  3. Over thirty years ago Dr. George Frison began pushing the timeline back for those who first occupied the high plains of Wyoming. Frison felt the Folsom culture was active in Wyoming ten thousand years ago. At the time he was considered a heretic. He proved to be right pushing the occupation date back to 13,000 bp.

    He also had a hunch Clovis folk were here as well and that would push occupation dates as far back as 20,000 years. A few days ago in Boulder, Colorado a home owner landscaping his property, came upon an icredible find. He unearthed the largest Clovis lithic find in North America.

    That’s the science. Dr. Frison was a scientist who grew up on a ranch near Hyatville. He hunted and fished and worked horseback seeing the countryside in a manner not unlike the hunter gatherers who roamed there before him for milenea. Frison had a sixth sense when chosing where to look and he passed that intuition on to his students. They in turn passed it on to all they came in contact with.

    As one spends time in Sunlight that intuition begins to emerge. As it does, civilization begins to fade and a new set of values slowly emerges. The more time spent in the Sunlight valley the more the land and animals offer their story, their way of experieincing reality. It is a eternal gift to human beings. And it is up to human beings to accept or not accept that which is the source of all living things.

    The mountains were accepted as the source of dreams by American Indians who walked them nearly two centuries ago. To begin to see with their eyes one only has to acknowledge the wonder.


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