One of my earliest memories is of riding in a 1980s Dodge Ram Charger, crammed in the back seat with my three siblings, bouncing around on the backroads of Natrona County. Most evenings, we’d return from the back country listening to my dad’s Hank Williams cassette tapes, eating Circus Peanuts with sticky, red-dirt stained fingers. We’d watch from the windows as the late-summer Wyoming sun set in pinks, peaches, blues, golds and purples over the prairie.
I’m a proud, born-and-raised Wyoming girl.
Years later, I’d backpack, hike, fly-fish, canoe and even get married in the Medicine Bow National Forest. It was there, at Snowy Range Ski Area, that I learned to downhill ski — albeit poorly. I also learned to fall with some style, or so I’d like to think, and to use a chair lift.
Today, I am blessed to live with my two children and hardworking husband so close to the Bighorn National Forest. Every chance we get, we head to the hills.
Often, I feel like my own mother, watching my kids cast a fly rod into a tangled mess or give themselves “mud baths” on the streamside, all before heading home with Jalan Crossland on the radio. This year — the year I turned 33 — I trained for and ran the Bighorn Mountain Trail Run 50k. The distance was set to be 32 miles, but my own GPS marked me at 33 miles. I didn’t mind at all, given my new age.
The mountains call me, and they are my home.
It is for all these reasons and more that every single person who has volunteered with the Antelope Butte Foundation has done so in the past few years.
We all want to be connected to our land, whether we want to teach our children to tame the slopes much earlier than I learned, or we want to tackle the Summerfest trail runs, the ski area on the hill is a treasure.
And in Wyoming, we know the value of our treasures.
Carrie Haderlie was a newspaper reporter in Wyoming for 10 years before becoming a mother. Today, she is a Sheridan-based freelance writer. This summer, she served on an Antelope Butte Foundation summer event planning committee.