November of last year (2007) found me visiting my granddad in Wyoming. He has had a recurring battle with lymphoma for several years and his health appeared to be rapidly deteriorating in late October, so of course I wanted to go see him.
I left Arizona for Wyoming with my heavy winter coat in tow. I have not used my coat since moving to Phoenix the week before Christmas in 2005, but I figured I might need it. Having lived in Wyoming for the better part of my adult life, I know what the late fall weather can be like there.
As it turned out, I didn’t need my heavy coat at all! The weather was gorgeous!
I asked Granddad if we could go up to the mountains if he felt up to it. He did, and we drove up to Story, WY. Story is a lovely little town nestled in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. I used to work up there and loved the rustic feel of the log cabins snuggled in among the trees. I enjoyed the restaurants with their huge fireplaces, with an elk or moose head mounted above the wooden mantel. I felt so much at home.
We took a back road shortcut, oh fun! In Wyoming a back road means a lot of dust and dirt, and maybe, if you’re lucky, a little gravel. Wyoming country roads are the reason I quit wearing contacts! Eyes filled with dusty grit don’t like contacts much!
Occasionally I would see something I wanted to stop and shoot with my camera. Wyoming, for me, is rich with photo opportunities. I wish I would have had more time to shoot the million and one things that I used to kind of take for granted when I lived in there. But our time was limited, so I snapped what I could, and figured I’d just have to go back another time.
Here are some of the photos I took:
If you like red barns, then this area of Wyoming is ideal for you! It’s funny how people just wave as they turn into their gate and you’re standing there shooting pictures of their barn!
This is an old school house, long since abandoned. There isn’t even a path to drive up to this little building anymore. I had walk about 200 yards and crawl through the fence to get this shot.
These pretty red leaves were the last remnants of a beautiful fall. I took these pictures at the Fish Hatchery in Story, WY. I used to work within walking distance of the Fish Hatchery and would go walking over there during my lunch when the weather was favorable.
This little pond, dammed by a family of beavers, is also at the Fish Hatchery. You can see the beavers’ dam at the edge of the water, toward the middle of the photo.
This stump reminds me of some of the old farmers I knew around Sheridan, WY. It’s as though it might have a hundred stories to tell if it could just find the words to speak.
This young whitetail buck thought he was hiding from me after crossing the road in front of our truck. Peek-a-boo, I see you!!
This big fella seemed to be sleeping standing up, right up until I got close enough that he thought I might have food!!
Okay, I lived in Wyoming for many years, and the only camels I saw were at the circus when my kids were really little! Llamas are common, camels, not so much! This guy was pretty friendly, but I think he, too, thought I might have some food for him so I snapped my pix and got out of there!
The sun was starting to set as we drove by this old barn. We watched for quite a while as two deer sparred while the rest of the herd grazed nearby. No matter how many times I see deer, elk and moose, I am always in awe of them! I think that is something I will never take for granted!
Summer is definitely over as you can see from these shriveled prune-like berries. I guess the birds have had quite their fill by this time!
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a little of the place that feels so much like home to me, even after being gone from there for almost 10 years. I’ve spent so much time with my kids, and my daycare kids, at family picnics, treasure hunts, bow shoots and camping in this area. The memories are gifts wrapped in the scent of pine and mountain rain.
I love Arizona now, and it feels more like home every day, but Wyoming will always have a big piece of my heart. It’s where my kids were born and where they grew up. I have a lot of friends there, whom I will always cherish. So I guess that now I really have two homes.