Day in the High Country

The mountain treeline is my favorite place to be on a hot summer day. Temperatures are at least 15 degrees cooler up  there and any reprieve from the high nineties is welcome. I had plans to hike a trail to a destination, but once I got there I just wanted to wander across the open…

Shades of Yellow

We have had one of the wettest springs I can remember in a long time. Nice little rains keep coming- almost daily. It’s always interesting to see how the spring weather pattern determines which plants will dominate the landscape. This year it seems to be the annual mustards (members of the Brassicaceae family) and Yellow…

Pronghorn: Icon of Wyoming

Perfectly adapted to the sage brush steppe, Pronghorn, Antilocapra americana, is an iconic wildlife species of Wyoming. Visitors are often surprised when they see pronghorn, saying they “look like something from Africa.” Pronghorn are the second fastest land mammal on the planet, able to reach speeds exceeding 50 mph. Sagebrush is a staple of their…

Water is Life

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Wyoming is a headwater state. Straddling the continental divide, Wyoming feeds four major river basins: the Missouri-Mississippi, Green-Colorado, Snake-Columbia, and Great Salt Lake.1 Given the low rainfall in Wyoming’s lower elevations, we all keep a close eye on the mountain snowpack. The mountain snowpack will, for the most part,…

Early Risers

We are having a nice slow warm up here in my part of Wyoming. Even so, the speed with which the wildflowers begin to bloom always catches me by surprise. Many of our early spring native wildflowers only need a few days above the mid fifties Fahrenheit to start their green up, and then a…

Hope for Declining Groundwater Aquifers?

Recent efforts to recharge groundwater in Idaho are showing positive results. “Last winter, the state of Idaho succeeded in recharging 317,000 acre-feet of water into an important aquifer, enough to serve 700,000 homes for a year. It was an important milestone in an ambitious program to restore a groundwater source that had been overtapped for…

Pink is the New Orange

A number of laws were passed in this last session of the Wyoming legislature. One of those being that fluorescent pink is now acceptable as hunting attire. I’m actually glad about this. Not because I love pink, but because last hunting season it was hot, and all my blaze orange is for cold weather. I…

The Borrowed Days

This year March is spilling over into April. I grew up with the farmer’s lore regarding March “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb” and vice versa, but this March the lion has been greedy, occupying the coming, the going, and then some. Irish folklore tells of March borrowing three days from April to…

Boys in the Hood

With low light, a zoom lens, and no tripod there wasn’t much chance of a stellar shot, but I thought you might enjoy the “boys” I’ve been seeing every morning. For those unfamiliar with agriculture in the Rocky Mountain West, it’s worth mentioning that it is estimated 80% of Wyoming’s native animals depend on private…

My Fog is a Cloud

Phrases that denote the heavy, depressing influence  of foggy days don’t resonate with me. I can understand how a grey fog hanging over a city for days could have that effect, though. With well over 200 days of arid sunshine in my location, and fog a rare occurrence,  a foggy day seems an intriguing invitation…

Well That’s Frustrating

Frustrating if you’re hunting elk, that is. These elk found a safe spot as elk season opened a few days ago. They have situated themselves on private land with a highway on two sides and houses on the third, it’s illegal to take a shot under these circumstances and they seem to know it.

The Deer and the Antelope Play

While the antelope spend most of their time in the lower elevation sagebrush steppe, the mule deer spend this time of year in a variety of habitats. Driving along some brushy, deep creek bottoms and riparian areas I witnessed the muleys in their pre-rut frolicking. The “rut” is the period when the males are actively…