Thursday, May 16, 2013

Winter-Spring in Wyoming

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Well, it is finally spring in the Rockies.  We have had temperatures of 70 degrees with light breezes and dry trails, but the days of blowing snow with chilly temperatures in the teens is not so long ago.  I even got caught in a heavy downpour one afternoon.  For my job, I may spend a morning helping measure stream flow one day and measuring snow depth another—makes for interesting days and wet boots.  However, life is good here in Wyoming—and I have pictures to prove it.  I won’t be doing any traveling—out of the area anyway—for a while so you will have to be satisfied with Wyoming and Colorado photos for now.  As I mentioned in my last blog, all photos form 2013 would be in this posting, so here they are.

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About the job again:  my title is Surface and Subsurface Hydrology Lab manager.  That means that I get to play with lots of different hydrology equipment—both buying and operating it—and I get to support all sorts of researchers from undergrads to professors with their research projects.  I keep track of equipment and people and attempt to facilitate the hydrology research which is currently focusing on the local mountain range—the Snowy Range—as well as part of the Laramie Range .  The link for our website is  I really like what I am doing, and it is exciting to have a job where I am constantly learning new stuff and getting to work outside.  I will be doing a lot of field work this summer, so even more time outdoors.  Here are a few photos of the stuff we might be doing, or the conditions we might be working in.

As to other parts of life—they are pretty darn good as well.  I worked most weekends at the local ski area this winter—Snowy Range Ski Area—and got to lead some snowboard clinics for other instructors as well as teach both skiing and snowboarding.  I spent 3 days at Winter Park at a snowboard instructor clinic—thanks to my friends in Chicago for the accommodations.  At the beginning of May I retook my Level 2 instructor exam—and passed. I passed in many years ago, but as I did not stay current with dues and continuing education, I had to take it again.  It was a pretty nice five days of riding at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado with 7” of fresh snow while I was there.  Thanks to Amanda for the accommodations there.  
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I finally got some new ski boots last spring so it was fun to get back into skiing again, and I picked up some new teleboots at the end of the season as well.  I even found some bargains while in Colorado so now I have both tele and alpine skis for next season.  I had the honor and pleasure of taking some turns with a couple great skiers at the area, and I may have even improved a bit because of them.  I also got to take some turns at Snowbird with my brother and nephew, and, while there, purchased a couple “new” oriental / Persian rugs.   In addition, my Laramie friend, Cindy, and I skinned (put skins on teleskis) up to Medicine Bow Peak and skied the road back. It was a majorly breezy day and Cindy got a few photos on her phone for me.  We also spent a weekend at a Forest Service cabin over Easter--and both Cindy and my birthdays.   There is still snow in the mountains, and I may yet make one more ski day. 

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However, my friends here are waaaaay into mountain biking, so there is quite a bit of pressure to bike.   I have also been biking to work, lifting some weights, working on my rock climbing at the gym, and feeling better than I have in several years.  On a more dramatic note, I went for a mountain bike ride last Sunday and had the crash of my life.  I tumbled down a steep, very rocky (think big rocks) slope almost into the reservoir.  I remember my bike flying over me—I think I cushioned its crash as it was fine.  In the end, I too was fine, with a few bruises and several cactus spines in my butt.  However, there were lots of pretty flowers along the trail, so I walked back and took some flower / scenery shots.     

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So, now the rest of the life:  I bought a house in Laramie—my first house, and I hope my last.  As most of you homeowners know, buying a house (taking out a mortgage) is a pain in the patootie—it is amazing to me how much personal information they get to have on you!!  Anyway, I am excited about having my own house.  It is rather larger than I had planned on, but otherwise has most of the features that I really wanted including a garage, place for my toys, a spare room or two for guests, a yard with some trees and potential space for a garden.  It has space for a slack line, a trampoline, maybe a small climbing wall, and other important entertainments.  It is also located at the edge of the prairie so running and biking opportunities are literally right outside my door.  It has lots of sunlight and even a little deck off the master bedroom.  It used to be a meth house, but has cleaned up very nicely!!  To celebrate the owning of a house, I am planning  a house warming weekend party the first weekend in June  starting Friday night (31 May) through Sunday (2 June)—you don’t need to come the whole weekend, but I would love it if you would stop in and say hi—and yes, if you are reading  this—and I actually know you--you are invited.  You will have to contact me via email or phone, and I will get you directions and details.  I plan to run a 25K race Saturday morning, so wait until noon or so if you come on Saturday.  Here are some photos of the house.

Phoebe, my cat, is just fine: still playful, chasing treats, being a very demanding kitty who wants to be brushed hourly.  My car still leaks oil, but runs great with over 234,000 miles.  Not much happening on the romance front.  Guess that sums up my current life.   For the future, I will be busy with work as we have a very full field season planned.  When not working I will be in my new yard getting it back into shape; I think some of the plants have been neglected, and it will need some flowers for colour.  I also have plans to do lots of mountain biking with various friends, and there is a local mt  bike race series that I will participate in.  I hope to climb a few mountains, run a few 5Ks, take lots of photos, and generally enjoy life. 

I hope that everyone has had a good winter and that the spring and summer find you happy and healthy.  For my Southern Hemisphere folks, the seasons are reversed, but I still hope you are happy and healthy.

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