Our Move to Wyoming: A Tongue-in-Cheek Diary

 

Alsenglow

AUG 12:  Moved to our new home in Wyoming. It is so beautiful. The mountains are so majestic. Can hardly wait to see them with snow covering them. I love it here.

Bands of Light at Oxbow Bend

OCT 14: Wyoming is the most beautiful place on earth. The leaves are turning all the colors and shades of yellow, red and orange. Went for a ride through the beautiful mountains and saw some deer. They are so graceful—certainly they are the most wonderful animals on earth. This must be paradise. I love it here.

Mule Deer

NOV 11: Deer season will start soon. I can't imagine anyone wanting to kill such a gorgeous creature. Hope it will snow soon. I love it here.

John Moulton Barn

DEC 2: It snowed last night. Woke up to find everything blanketed with white. It looks like a postcard. We went outside and cleaned the snow off the steps and shoveled the driveway. We had a snowball fight (I  won), and when the snowplow came by, we had to shovel the driveway again. What a beautiful place. I love Wyoming.

DEC 12: More snow last night. I love it. The snowplow did his trick again to the driveway. I love it here.

Mailboxes

DEC 19: More snow last night. Couldn't get out of the driveway to get to work. I am exhausted from shoveling. Stinking snowplow.

Snow

DEC 22: More of that white crap fell last night.  I've got blisters on my hands from shoveling. I think the snowplow hides around the curve and waits until I'm done shoveling the driveway. Jerk!

Daytime Shoppers

DEC 25: Merry Freaking Christmas!  More friggin' snow. If I ever get my  hands on that S.O.B. who drives that snowplow, I swear I'll kill the jerk. Don't know why they don't use more salt on the roads to melt the freaking ice and snow.

DEC 27: More white crap last night. Car won't start. I think I'm going snowblind. I can't move my toes. Haven't seen the sun in weeks. Been inside for three days except for shoveling out the driveway after that snowplow goes through every time. Can't go anywhere; car's stuck in a mountain of white stuff. The weatherman says to expect another 10" of the garbage again tonight. Do you know how many shovels full of snow 10" is?

Teton Range with Morning Clouds 

DEC 28: The freaking weatherman was wrong. We got 34" of that white crap this time. At this rate, it won't melt before next summer. The snowplow got stuck up the road and that jerk came to the door and asked to borrow my shovel. After I told him I had broken six shovels already shoveling all the junk he pushed into the driveway, I broke my last one over his freaking head. 

Snow Days 

JAN 4: Finally got out of the house today. Went to the store to get food  and on the way back a stupid deer ran in front of the car and I hit it. Did about $3,000 damage to the car. Those freaking beasts should be killed. Wish the hunters had killed them all last November.

Jan 12: Can't get there from here. There was an avalanche in the Snake River Canyon. It's closed. Teton Pass is closed—again. Ice jams flooded Hoback Canyon. Highway 89/191 has blown in and closed between Moose Junction and Moran Junction. The power went out for an hour yesterday.   

MAY 3: Took the car to the garage in town. Would you believe the thing is rusting out from that stupid salt they put all over the road?

MAY 10: Moved back to Oklahoma. I can't imagine why anyone in his or her right mind would ever live in that god-forsaken state of Wyoming. 

Original Author: Unknown/Anonyous

A friend “faxed” us a variation of this diary not long after we moved here in 1986. You can find a lot of other versions by searching for southerner moves north joke. (Of course, many of them are quite fowl mouthed!) The version I found had Pennsylvania instead of Wyoming.

Other Notes: Actually, we did move to Jackson in August of 1986. Actually, I hit an elk while returning from a fishing trip. The the repair bill was over $4,300. We’ve actually had to throw away three of our snow shovels this year. We bought a heavy duty snow blower a couple of years ago, which helps a lot. The town snow plow regularly leaves 24″-30″ of heavy, crusty snow in front of our driveway. Without the snow blower, I am sure we would have trashed a lot more shovels. The photo of me above was taken a few days ago while shoveling 30″-36″ of snow off the roof. And, actually, we still live here and love it!  (but it’s good to get out of town once in a while)

Shoshone: One of my favorite GTNP Moose

By August each year, many of the bull Moose have developed their antlers to a point I can start identifying many of them. As a bull nears maturity, they’ll add an extra tine or two and their paddles gain more size and mass. Interestingly, their antlers grow in a very similar pattern from year to year.

Shoshone in Velvet

Shiras Moose, the smallest of the three Moose species, can be found in most areas of Grand Teton National Park. Moose are high on my “favorites” list, along with Wild Horses and Mountain Goats. I’d probably include Wolves and Bears, but both involve and incredible amount of time and dedication. Moose are more plentiful, and generally less elusive in the Park.

This year, I kept seeing a beautiful bull along the Gros Ventre. The photo above was taken on August 8th. He resembled Washakie, an old bull I photographed for years. In fact, many people would likely confuse the two, but after a couple of years of absence, it appears Washakie is no longer roaming the valley floor. I named this bull Shoshone—knowing Chief Washakie was a Shoshone warrior.

Brow Tines

This photo from 2016 shows Washakie’s massive brow tines, the scratch on his muzzle and cuts in each ear. I could speculate that Shoshone is related—either a brother or son?

Shoshone in Velvet

Shoshone’s antlers are actually more attractive and balanced, at least in my opinion. The resemblance should be evident when comparing the two photos. Shoshone lacks the cuts in the ears and scratch on the muzzle.

Shoshone and Teewinot

I’ve overheard “Wildlife tour guides” tell their clients that bull Moose are solitary animals most of the year. I’ve found that statement to be essentially untrue. It appears to me they enjoy having at least one bull around them, and are often in groups of four to six. Shoshone spent much of the fall with this younger bull, Teewinot, taken on August 28.

Shoshone and Teewinot

Initially, Shoshone was visible along the Gros Ventre River—near some of the pull-outs—but later moved upriver. It took considerable effort to find them, but when I did, I was almost always the only photographer around. Shoshone and Teewinot were seen the under a double rainbow on the 30th of August.

Shoshone in Velvet

By late August, Shoshone’s antlers were fully developed. The resemblance to Washakie was uncanny! This photo was taken on August 30th.

Shoshone Stripping Velvet

Catching Shoshone stripping his velvet was high on my priority list. The odds of being at right place at exactly the right time are never in a photographer’s favor. When I found Shoshone in the afternoon on September 2nd, he had already stripped a large portion of his velvet.

Shoshone with Stripped Velvet

Strips of velvet always cling to the base of their antlers like a high school graduates “tassels”. By the next day, the tassels would be gone.

Shoshone Stripping Willows

Velvet comes off in sheets if the bulls attempt to strip it at the right time. If they miss the “window”, it dries and hardens on their newly exposed antlers as seen in this September 4th capture.

Shoshone was ready for the rut by the time I took this September 7th photo.

Shoshone and Teewinot

Of course, Teewinot was nearby and was a frequent sparring partner.

Shoshone in the Gros Ventre

A river crossing is always a treat. 

Shoshone River Crossing

The down side of a river crossing, however, is the shoot with this bull is over for the day!

Shoshone and Younster

Bulls often travel long distances during the rut. I spotted Shoshone near the Teton Science School and Ditch Creek, then again on the Gros Ventre River. Older bulls are usually gentle and tolerant of younger bulls—much like our Golden Retriever around a puppy.

Youngster

By October 25th, most of the old velvet had been scraped off, the bulk of the rut was over and bulls were gathering in small groups.

Early Snow

On October 30th, we had fresh snow in Jackson. I spotted Shoshone milling around amongst around ten moose. By the time I hiked through the dense sagebrush and snow, he bedded down.

Shoshone

Shoshone was back in the Sagebrush when I found him on November 15th. True to form, he had a smaller bull with him, but it was not Teewinot.

Shoshone 2017

I took this photo in the same area in late November last year. This year, he has a few more points on his brow tines and longer tines on his paddles, but the overall shape is the same.

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