Whyoming?

After the announcement that we would be leaving California I had many conversations to the tune of “I can’t believe you’re leaving!” all the way to “why would you want to leave?!?”. People were in disbelief that we would actually leave and that we wanted to leave.  While having these conversations many expressed they too have had this dream. To leave the traffic, the smog, and the hectic work life and commute. Their dreams may not be coming to a town of 260 people like we did, but the same theme rang true. Others refuse to leave the good weather, beaches, and Mexican food as a trade off for all the rest. They love California through and through. The one question I was asked the most about this new adventurous life we were packing up to embark upon was “why Wyoming?”.

Top left, Meadow Lark Lake. Bottom left a creek in Yellowstone. Right, Ten Sleep creek in the summer time. I’ll be spending my beach time creek and lake side from now on.

Sometimes the tone sounded curious, sometimes it sounded confused. All gun owning and domesticated wife jokes set aside (I got quite a few from friends and family), here are some facts! Wyoming is the least populated state in the country. In fact, we are only one of seven states that has three electoral votes, guaranteed two senate and one house. In 1889 Wyoming gave women the right to vote, and in 1890 the state was admitted into the union becoming the first where women could cast a ballot! The first female U.S. governor was sworn into office January of 1925. Wyoming holds the first National Monument, Devil’s Tower, and the first National Park, Yellowstone. Its lands also account for about 40% of the nation’s coal production. Only one area code is used for the entire state. There are a few unpleasant facts, like being the highest in fatalities due to traffic collisions, second in suicide rates, and number one for gun related deaths (not surprising as we are also in the top spot for gun ownership per capita).

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A very cold, and very early pass into Wyoming on the big move. (ashta chandrasana, half moon)

So seriously, why Wyoming? What did we come for, what did we expect?

It might just be the most peaceful place on earth! Wide open spaces, natural animals grazing galore, and tons of water. The closer you look, the more animals you see, all littered about, from Bald Eagles to elk to bears and moose.

Luna and Sol spying on some mule deer in the yard, or what I like to call the zoo. Local yellowstone buffalo and a Big Horn National Forest moose. On one trip into the forest we saw 5 moose and a herd of elk.

If you leave your keys in the ignition, even left it running, it’ll still be there no matter when you get back. The people here are exceptionally friendly. As a California lifer I had to get used to the generosity and helpfulness of complete strangers.

Top right, keep the cab warm all winter. Your dog and your truck will be there when you get back. Bottom, Fourth of July, Ten Sleep parade.

Yellowstone is here, and it is amazingly beautiful. I can’t put into words to describe all there is to see and learn (although you can check out another post where I try).

World’s largest collection of natural thermal geysers at Yellowstone National Park. A view of the Tetons, hiked and climbed by many year round.

Seasons and snow! I’ve never lived in a place that has either. Southern California likes to keep it green, but there is so much beauty in a fresh spring season after the winter.

Top middle, I am standing on a portion of Ten Sleep creek behind our house that has frozen over with an ice bridge for the winter. So far Luna is in love with snow and exploring outside. We are on the shady side of Ten Sleep canyon, so spring flowers may come later than expected.

The air and the night sky are breath taking. Clean and light pollution free in our tiny town. Even if you live in a larger city like Cheyenne or Laramie, you don’t have to travel far to see the stars. The clear, smog free views span across the state.

Do I even need to caption how beautiful these views are?

Traffic is virtually non existent! Period.

I’m not suggesting the cat drive, but it’s possible for miles and miles if you train ’em up right.

Let’s not forget the number one reason we moved here, the rock climbing! The state has quite a few climbing dense areas, all within a few hours drive. Just outside our borders in Colorado and Utah – are two more climbing meccas.

Here are a few things that came as a surprise to me. When the temps get near or below zero the moisture in your nose freezes and you can feel all your nose hairs sticking together. Also in winter, the sun sets around 4:30 and your body seriously shuts down. You start to eat dinner earlier, and go to bed much earlier. Production slows. There are a lot of coffee shacks that you can drive up to and make an order. Speaking of driving up, the liquor stores have window side service. There are so many more animals than I ever expected to see, all roadside. The only fences in most areas belong to the cattle. Our small town of 260 has a co-op fitness gym, coffee shop, mercantile, ice cream parlor, splash pad/ice rink, and two veterinarians. You can get avocados for a reasonable price, even in winter. Whew.

Besides the climbing my husband and I were looking to slow our pace of life down, eliminate some stress, and enjoy the great outdoors. We also started another business, the Ten Sleep Rock Ranch. Camping for climbers, showers, and waste disposal to help protect the Big Horn National Forest. Follow the link to our new Facebook page, with more info to come.

I’m sure in a year, in ten years, this list will be substantially longer. For now, please note, our state is gorgeous, friendly, and welcomes all! See ya’ll soon.

Stay Adventurous,

Valarie Tes

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