Westward Ho

Location: Lander, Wyoming, United States

I'm just a western boy living the good life and enjoying every minute of it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Campsite. Posted by Picasa

Our campsite and view for this week. Mosquito Lake on Union Pass in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 15, 2005

Catch of the day...Sherman the Shark Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Field Season in Full Swing

The time has come. (Makes you think of that Midnight Oil song, doesn't it?) We are leaving the doldrums of office life behind and heading into the great outdoors. This is the time of year when my life gets busy. We start our intensive stream sampling next week, which means we'll be out every week, from Monday through Thursday, in some of the most remote areas of the state, performing stream assessments.

Last week and early this week, we were lucky enough to be out on a boat, sampling reservoirs in central Wyoming. There's just something about sitting on a boat in the shining sun, even if you are doing work. What a way to spend the day. It got pretty hot the couple days we were out, but we made sure to fall over the side of the boat into the fairly cool water every now and then. As an added bonus, we found an abandoned inflatable shark that had washed up into a cove. We retrieved it, named it Sherman, and positioned it as our new mascot on the boat.

We start our streamwork off with a bang next week, going deep into the rugged foothills south of Lander. Excellent moose, deer, antelope, eagle, hawk and rattlesnake habitat. Should be some sweet camping too. Man, I love my job.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Vietnam - Lander Style

I hope everyone had a great July 4th weekend. Melissa and I went up to Cody, Wyoming, where she has family. We played some games, watched the tourists, went to the rodeo and sat through the parade in the blazing Wyoming heat. Sunday, I got to play the relatively new Meeteetse golf course. Beautiful 9-hole course about 30 miles from cody. Absolutely kicked my arse. One of the toughest courses I have ever played.

We had decided to come back to Lander on the afternoon/evening of the 4th, mainly because I had to work today and am going out in the field for the rest of the week. I had been told by coworkers to steer clear of Lander on the 4th if at all possible. Their reasoning...Lander bans fireworks within city limits for the entire year except on the 4th, and people make up for it by blowing the lid off the town for an entire day. Knowing how much fun our family has had in the past with fireworks, I thought my coworkers were exagerating. Oh, how naive I was.

We got back to Lander around 6:00 last night to a steady thumping of loud firecrackers, including many from our across the street neighbor kid, who we actually like. He's a good kid, except when he's around explosives. After an hour of listening to non-stop explosions from every corner of the town, we wondered how long people could enjoy setting off firework after firework. The answer finally became clear around 11:30 that night. It was a continuous powder keg from the minute we got to Lander (and who knows how long prior to that) until almost midnight, when the fireworks ban went back into effect. Thank God I was never in Vietnam. Last night would have sent my mind back into the trenches, waiting for the North Vietnamese army to blast its way into my little apartment.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Ok, so my stepbrother Paul tagged me. His website is www.thesunkeepsrising.blogspot.com. Check out his answers to the questions he was "tagged" with after you take a look into my personal life.

1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life?
A. Took a job out in the D.C. area that paid just enough to cover the high cost of rent and left very little for groceries, etc. Although this was a stupid thing to do, it was a major learning experience and eye opener.
B. Got in a fight with the parents about a girl, leading to my dropping out of college after my freshman year, only to straighten things out just in time to start back up again in the fall.
C. Overspent for a used pickup truck that ended up costing me wayyyyy more than if I had just bought new to begin with (thanks to an unfathomable number of repair issues).

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?
Without a doubt, it's Melissa, my girlfriend/fiancee. I am extremely lucky to have found someone so wonderful (and tolerant of my weird antics). We are everything to each other, and I'm very happy to have her.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?
John Candy (one of the funniest actors ever), Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Mickey Mantle, and William Wallace (portrayed in Braveheart by Mel Gibson)

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?
A. For my family and friends to live long, healthy lives and die peacefully in their sleep.
B. For my family and friends to all live within a 3-4 hour drive, so we could see each other often.
C. For my family and friends to never have to worry about money.

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.
I regret Lander not having a local airport. To get here, you have to fly to Riverton (30 minutes away), Casper (two hours fifteen minutes), Salt Lake (4 hours), or Denver (5 and a half hours). I also regret Lander not having an outdoor swimming pool or recreation center. Avoid driving to Yellowstone from here between June 1 and September 15. More RV's than you can shake a stick at. Also avoid the B&B Lounge. I've heard it's kind of a rough place. Go to the Lander Bar instead. Excellent microbrews, great setting.

6. Name one event that has changed your life.
I would have to say my parents getting a divorce. Divorce is always a life altering event, no matter what the circumstances.

7. Tag 5 people.
Since the only bloggers I know are through my stepbrother Paul's website, see his site for other tagees.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Well folks, I'm back. I can definitely tell it's summer, because there's no slowing down. The vacation was a great success. When we got to Denver for Melissa's brother's wedding, it was raining like crazy. It rained basically up until about an hour before the wedding. Good timing. I was an usher in the wedding, and I got to wear a tophat and cane. When I first heard that I would be donning such attire, I was somewhat skeptical, yet intrigued. Let me just say this about how it looked...cool as the underside of the pillow. That shit was hot! I saved the tophat and cane and will use it again in the future.

After a fun-filled weekend with Melissa's family, which was not so fun-filled for Melissa, who had some bad chicken at the reception, we hit the road for Aberdeen, South Dakota, where my dad lives. Eleven hours later, we met up with my dad, brother, his girlfriend, and my nephew. Almost the entire drive, we had storms in our rear view mirror. We barely outraced them to Aberdeen, and a half hour after we arrived, we were greeted with a series of tornados, 100-mph straight-line winds, and severe thunderstorms. We were happy not to have been on the road during that rager of a storm. South Dakota was fun, with much mini golf played, games played, and go carts raced. My nephew wore me out, so I was happy to get back to work.

On our way back from SoDak, Melissa dropped me off at the Tensleep Preserve, a Nature Conservancy property near Tensleep, Wyoming that consisted of some of the most beautiful mountain foothills that I've ever seen. It was a great place to do streamwork, and we got a lot of that done, as well as some hiking, golfing, and lounging amongst the Ponderosa Pine.

So the vacation went well, but I was happy to get home. The top is finally down on the Jeep, now that it is truly summer in Wyoming. Life is good. But as long as I can come home to Lander and be with my gal, life will always be good.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Large Snake and Another Vacation

First and foremost, I saw the largest snake that I have ever seen in the wild yesterday. We were touring some past and future stream improvement pr0jects near Lander. While we were standing on the banks of the Popo Agie River about 3 miles from Lander, a guy in our group looked over to his right and jumped a few feet in the air. Slithering toward our group was a very large bull snake, about 2-3 inches in diameter and 5-6 feet in length. Bull snakes are generally harmless, but their size makes them quite formidable. The snake, who seemed neither pissed nor scared, cruised up to within about 3 feet of our group, then disappeared down into a little crevice. A little scary at first (because bull snakes look eerily similar to the rattlesnakes in this area), but quite impressive.

So I'm signing off for another couple of weeks. We leave tonight for Denver for Melissa's brother's wedding, then off to South Dakota to see my pop, bro, and nephew, then to Tensleep, Wyoming for a week of work training. I sure hope the plant in my apartment doesn't get too pissed at me for lack of water. Although, it is one of those stubborn plants that won't die, no matter what torture it endures. Anywho, I hope everyone has a good couple of weeks. I shall return with stories, but hopefully no more snakes for awhile.