Monday, February 2, 2015

My Home

       Wyoming is an amazing place. You can hunt elk in the arid Red Desert. Or you can fish for four different kinds of cutthroat trout to nab your “Cutt-Slam.” And you can hike in the Gros Ventre Wilderness without seeing anyone for days. All of this can happen in a space of less than 100,000 square miles – and I've done it. I’ve done it in the place I call home.  
      I've always had an interest in wildlife. Perhaps it started as early as when I was seven months old, watching from a Kelty backpack as my family packed out quarters of elk. Or maybe it started in studying that very same elk’s skull in my grandparents’ house and uttering my first word, “elk.”
            Throughout my life, I've had a love for all things wild in Wyoming. In pre-school when other kids said, “I want to be a superhero when I grow up,” or “I want to be a ballerina,” I said, “I want to be a game warden.” I idolized - and continue to feel hero worship for - people like my grandpa and a close family friend who recently retired as Wyoming’s most senior game warden. These are guys who have devoted their lives to the conservation of Wyoming’s wildlife.

      I’m now 12 years old. I have had the opportunity to hunt and kill two deer (see The Hunt for deer number two) as well as countless rabbits, collared doves, blue grouse and ruffed grouse. I’ve
caught what feels like hundreds of brook trout under the shadow of Independence Mountain in the Wind Rivers. I've summited Jackson Peak. I've lied through my teeth about how wonderful the snails we find at nearby mountain stream taste (let’s just say it’s an acquired taste – and I’m the only one in my group of friends brave enough to power through it).
        For someone like me, living in Wyoming never loses its excitement. Whether it’s the new way a fish takes the line up a creek, or hiking into a spot I've never been before, or figuring out a scheme to finally get those darn collared doves around my neighborhood, there’s always something for a Wyoming kid like me. The experiences I've had and my goal to someday be a wildlife biologist shape the way I think, how I work, how I live. Wyoming takes the simplest things and ensures that they mean the most – and I'm lucky enough to call it my home.

-The Apprentice