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A Bear Popsicle

Wyoming is a great state, one of the wild places still left in this country. In most of the state you need to be self sufficient and have your wits about you or you can get into serious trouble fast. You soon learn you are not at the top of the food chain. If the quick, ever changing weather doesn't get you than there are many predators and its natural geography that will be more than happy to do you in. It is a state full of history both in these United States and in geographical natural history. If it wasn't for the harsh winters, I'd probably be there now.

One summer, I was fortunate enough to have worked at Lava Mountain Lodge its up in northern Wyoming between Togwotee Mountain pass and the cowboy town of Dubois. I had a great schedule that allowed me lots of time to hike and explore. From hiking game trails just across the road to hiking the extinct volcano just behind the lodge where the lodge got its name.

One day, I was actually sitting on a ledge on that volcanic rock mountain when all of a sudden a thunder storm blew in, lightning flashed and the hair stood up on my arms. You never saw someone descend from a highpoint so fast! haha!

This story is a different one. I'm also a rock hound and had heard about a petrified forest north of Dubois in the Cabin Creek area. In 2007, Cabin Creek was a wild beautiful place. Streams spread through the area like fingers. Bear caution signs in the parking area . Grizzles and Brown Bears are common in Wyoming. I spent the day hiking around the area. Never found the Petrified Forest but for Wyoming it was hot and I played in the streams and ate my pack lunch. It was a beautiful day! In the afternoon I started back to my truck. I wound around and when I knew I had to be getting close, I could see my truck through this little opening. It looked like a little bit of mud with small willows on each side, it didn't look very wet at all, just a little muddy spot. I decided I could skip through it for a short cut to my truck. As I started to skip, I placed my left foot down in the muddy spot and to my surprise, my foot sunk down to my ankle. Already in stride, my right foot came down, I was up to my calf. As I tried to pull my left leg up, the right leg sank even further, as I tried to raise my foot, the mud pulled on my shoe trying to pull it off. I reached down with the toe of my shoe trying to find bottom and there was no bottom. I was in quick sand and now I had sunk down to my thighs. What was I going to do??? I managed to pull my pack off and threw it to dry soil. If a bear or any other of the predators of Wyoming came along, I was surely going to be in trouble. At my wits end, in the back of my mind, surely a guardian angel told me to lay down and reach over to the young willows and try to pull myself out. The willows being young and supple bent easily and luckily held and after a few moments I pulled myself out. I was covered in very sticky mud. Bathing in the fast moving creek I had to use my hand to squeegee the mud off of me. the mud didn't come off easily. I then made it back to my truck.

When I got back to the lodge and related my story, that's when of the guys stated that I could have been a bear popsicle! Ha! Ha! I can laugh about it now but at the time it was pretty harrowing!

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