Westward Ho

Location: Lander, Wyoming, United States

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Successful Weekend

First and foremost, Star Wars-Revenge of the Sith. Absolutely loved it. It wrapped up the Star Wars series wonderfully and answered a lot of questions. Great light saber battle scenes. Anakin wasn't whiny anymore, but was a bad ass. Obi-wan is just the shiznit. Very high praise for Episode III.

On to another successful part of the weekend...my golf game. I shot the best score of my life, a 93. To you excellent golfers out there, yes, I've still got a long way to go to become a scratch golfer. But considering a couple years ago I was averaging about 105-110 over 18 holes, I'm pretty flippin' excited about my 93. And in actuality, out of about 7 or 8 rounds this year, I've only shot over 100 once. So I'm finally on my way to becoming half-way decent. But I do still have a long ways to go to become anywhere close to good. As an addendum to my good score, I also chipped in from about 10 yards off the green, over a ridge onto the downhill sloping green, straight into the cup. Sweetest shot of my life.

The final success of the weekend came Sunday morning. Melissa and I started the daunting task of clearing the massive amount of weeds from her yard. About 20 minutes after we started, it started raining, effectively ending the yard work saga for the Memorial weekend. "Damn honey, guess that yard work will have to be put off again." Unfortunately, the rain, which continued through most of yesterday, put a damper (no pun intended) on my hiking plans. Can't win 'em all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Catching Up and Moving On

Yes, I know. It's been a little while since I wrote. But get used to it! This is definitely my busy time of year between vacations and starting field season. Speaking of vacations, Melissa and I got back from St. Louis last Friday. We had a fun trip, despite some inner ear issues for Melissa and somebody mistakingly taking her luggage when we got there. But we packed a lot of activity in while we were there. And let me just say, you can never go on the Budweiser brewery tour too often. You all know what I'm talking about, free beer at the end of the tour! A trip to St. Louis is also not complete without seeing the Arch. On the way back home, our flight from Denver to Casper, Wyoming was weight restricted, so they offered us each a free round-trip ticket if we would catch the next flight, only an hour and fifteen minutes later. Of course, we said hell yeah! They gave us meal vouchers, and we were only at the airport for another hour fifteen. Who wouldn't do that? It didn't take us long to figure out how we were going to use our free tickets. Vegas baby! So we're heading to Sin City in November after field season is done. Don't worry though. We won't get hitched while we're down there. We'll save that for next Memorial weekend.

This 3-day Memorial weekend should be pretty low key for us. I have yet to see Star Wars Episode III, so that is definitely on the docket for Friday night. It's also been a few weeks since I've been on the golf course, so that will be taken care of Saturday. The rest of the weekend will be spent getting ready for our next vacation.

Next vacation you are saying??? Yes, I am a vacation hog. I seldom have vacation hours built up because I use them so frequently. Thank god for comp time. Melissa's brother is getting married in Denver a week from Saturday. After a few days in Denver with the future in-laws, it's off to South Dakota to see my dad, brother and nephew. On the way back from that trip, Melissa has to drop me off at a training event for work in the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming. Yes folks, it will be a busy few weeks, and you will hear very little from me. But fear not, I will return with a vengeance, hopefully with many stories from my many days on the road. I just hope I don't get trucker butt.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Vacation is Nigh

Well folks, Melissa and I are off to St. Louis tomorrow to visit the parents, brother, and nephew. It should be fun. We'll do all the touristy St. Louis stuff (that I've already done a dozen times, but always enjoy) because Melissa has never been there. St. Louis is a fun city, but it is a city, and to me that means visit, not live. I prefer the rural, small town life, so a week in the big city is plenty.

Speaking of the rural life, I spent the majority of this week at the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station, about 25 miles into the mountains west of Boulder. Stunning beauty up there. We had a workshop on sampling algae in streams. Pretty interesting, and a wonderful place to have it. Although we did get nailed with some pretty heavy snow on Wednesday. But what do you expect at 10,000 feet in elevation?

Ok folks. Time to sign off for another week. I am officially on vacation!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Tragic Accident

Yesterday, after work, I drove up to the canyon about 7 miles south of Lander to go for a nice little after-work hike. On my way back towards town, near the mouth of the canyon, I was slowed by the presence of about 6-7 emergency vehicles in a pullout by a rock face. It was apparent that something bad had happened, but I didn't see any wrecked vehicles, and there were a bunch of people milling around, so it was difficult to tell.

This morning when I got to work, I found out what happened. My boss/coworker (I'll call him "T") was in the canyon last night rock climbing with a good friend of his (I'll call him "A"). Lander, and specifically Sinks Canyon, has some of the best rock climbing in the U.S., or so I've been told by the many rock climbers I've met in the area. As "T" and "A" were climbing last night, a guy they were climbing with decided to check on his friend (I'll call the friend "J"). Apparently, "J" is a very experienced climber who worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) here in Lander. "J" was off by himself, either climbing or repairing one of the climb routes farther down in the canyon from the rest of the climbers. When "J's" friend went to check on him, he found "J" lying at the bottom of the cliff in a crumpled mess. "A" is an EMT with NOLS, so he and "T" were the first ones on the scene to try to revive him. "T" told me this morning that he knew right when they saw him that it was a futile effort. He had fallen to his death. To make it worse, "A", the EMT who tried to revive him, was a very close friend of "J", and got the task of telling "J's" family about the accident later last night.

"T", who is a very good climber himself, is understandably shaken up this morning and said he was haunted all night by the images from the accident. This is definitely a tragic accident that will likely hit the climbing community of Lander hard.