Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Spring

Spring is just around the corner. Hooray! We were somewhat fortunate this year in southwestern Wyoming in that winter was not as treacherous as last year. In fact, it was relatively mild which makes me concerned about the lack of water and drought. I don't know which is worse, lack of snow or driving in blizzard conditions. Of course, you never know around here, it could be snowing in June again. I hope that spring fills you with a sense of hope, renewal, and happiness.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy new year. After spending the holidays in Tennessee and Charleston where it ranged from 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and we were able to walk barefoot on the beach, it was a shock to the system to wake up to a balmy -2 degrees here in Wyoming. As I slid down the street and almost slid through several stop lights on my way to the store, I couldn't help but feel hopeful that good things are in store for the upcoming year. You might think I'm crazy, but the sun was shining and everything was a dazzling white from the snow storm, maybe my brain was frozen or something, but as my hands thawed I just kept thinking about the changes that are coming and as one happy, little tear froze to my cheek I couldn't help but smile.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unplug this Holiday Season

I can't believe how fast time goes by. Remember when it used to drag? I think it's because everything was a lot simpler back when I was a kid. I swear what is now a 45 minute trip to Salt Lake from my parents house used to take two hours. This time warp could have been due to the fact that my dad, Dennis the Menace as I like to call him, drives like a snail. When I was a kid, I wasn't involved in 25 activities a day, in fact activities used to go with each season just like on ESPN--softball, volleyball, and basketball each had their own allotted time slots. I had a chance to get out and build forts, make mud pies, catch snakes, and sleigh ride. In this age of instant access, I feel sorry for the kids or adults who don't ever get out to experience the world or even their own backyards. I guess my point is take the time to "unplug" this holiday season and go outside and build a snowman, take a walk, or while you're trying to get to some activity, simply pause and take a deep breath of fresh air. Hey, I may even take a trip to Salt Lake with Dennis the Menace and my Mom (with me driving of course).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Breakfast with a Moose

I've been pretty busy trying to squeeze everything into the last few weekends since the weather has been good. I have a feeling that it is going to be another long winter so I'm trying to take advantage.

Labor Day weekend began with a hike up Bald Mountain (picture on right). It was steep, but fun. It is around two miles and easy to get to from the Mirror Lake Highway. The view from the top is fantastic at close to 12,000 feet. Although, there were a couple of narrow, scary spots on the trail that you have to scramble over and not look down.

The next weekend was a trip to Las Vegas where my cousin was getting married (no, not in an Elvis Chapel). It was fun seeing the Hanson set of cousins and running into them at all the casinos. Hearing about my sister almost getting arrested for pretending she was going to steal my mom's purse was pretty hilarious. At two in the morning security is pretty fast. Needless to say, after being up late for three nights it was a long drive back.

Friday we decided to take a trip to Jackson Hole. It was great weather. We camped at Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton National Park. We woke up and had a bull, cow, and calf moose about 200 feet from our camp site (double-click to enlarge picture to see the size of his spoons). It was pretty awesome they were just sitting there staring at us and the swarm of photographers that showed up. The day was followed by a hike around Swan Lake, lunch at Jackson Lake Lodge, and a grizzly bear sighting on the way home. What a great way to spend a weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sheryl Crow

We were lucky enough to see Sheryl Crow at the Usana Ampitheater last night during her Detours Tour. It was worth the drive from Wyoming because she put on a great concert. She sang most of my favorite older songs (e.g., "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Strong Enough") and some of her new songs.

It made me think back to all the concerts I've been to, which doesn't amount to very many: Sting, Dave Mathew's Band, Doc Watson, Broken Valley Roadshow, Southern Culture on the Skids, Natalie Merchant, The Police (twice), Brooks Williams, Sawyer Brown, and Alabama (yes, I am from Spanish Fork and I was only seven years old but managed to get all their autographs).

My favorite show of all time: The Police. We won front row tickets to their Seattle concert in 2007 and saw them again five days later in Denver. We hopped a plane to Seattle, ate lunch in the Space Needle, and went to the show that night. When I went back to work the next day, I had to brag that I saw Sting's underwear. Yes, I was close enough to read the label and, in case you're wondering, he was wearing Calvin Klein (although I couldn't tell you if they were boxers or briefs).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Flaming Gorge

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is a special place for me. I moved to Dutch John, Utah the day after I graduated from high school and continued to go back every summer until I graduated from college. Something continues to draw me back. I have worked on the Ashley National Forest in three different positions and the place continues to intrigue me. You never know what you'll see in some of the seldom visited spots.

I had the opportunity to go there this weekend for a friend's wedding ceremony. We visited the Green River and hiked up the trail. I saw some wild turkeys near Little Hole which I never saw any of the years I worked there. I guess it could be due to the fact that the wildland fire that burned around Dutch John and Little Hole changed some of the habitat.

It made me think about all the crazy stunts we used to do after work at night (most of which I can't mention here). In a town of less than one hundred people you come up with some crazy stuff. How do you stay up until five in the morning and then go to work at six? I guess in a way maybe my "habitat" has also changed over the past ten years. I've found new and amazing places to frequent, but this place remains among my favorite places in the world.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What I've Been Up To...

Since this is my first ever blog, I'm writing about what I've been up to. I graduated from Snow College and Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in Forest Management. I've been working for the U.S. Forest Service in the Western United States since then in Utah, Montana, Nevada, and now Wyoming. After jobs in wildliand firefighting, helitack, forest health monitoring, and trail crew, I settled down as an Environmental Coordinator for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. It's one of those jobs no one knows how to explain, but basically means I do a lot of editing and writing of environmental documents and responding to appeals and litigation on projects that the Forest Service does to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. I'm currently working on the Wild and Scenic Rivers EIS for the National Forests in Utah. It has been very interesting, but means I get to work in Salt Lake City most of the time.

I love my job with the Forest Service, but it does little for the creative side of my brain so I find myself writing books. This summer I met some literary agents at the Jackson Hole Writer's Conference and have started sending out queries to some of them. To see more about my writing, check out my website at

In 1998, I got married to my fellow trail crew partner and wildland firefighter Walt. He fought fires for the past ten years and is currently in the process of a career change.