In '86 my parents started new jobs at a group home in Riverton, Wyoming. We got to move there. From then on my life was like being on a permanent vacation. My Dad took us hiking ... camping ... fishing. He taught us to fly fish. He got a boat.
We camped in tents, we camped under nothing but stars. We saw deer and antelope, elk and moose. Jeremy showed us snakes and we even saw bears. I loved nothing like I loved the mountains. From the time I was 9 years old, I knew that my life would be spent on a mountain. Alone...living with nature, serenity, and light. I told my parents often that when I turned 18, I was running away to the mountains. I guess in a way, I did.
Adolescence has its downside, but looking back I can remember only the fun. Being male and living in Wyoming, I was expected to learn how to kill for food. I started my training with BB guns. My Dad distinctly remembers me shooting at a grasshopper that happened to jump just as I pulled the trigger - and shooting out the window of his Blazer.
When I got old enough, I took Hunter's Safety Class. A few days later I shot myself in the finger with a BB pistol. Soon after, Josh shot me in the foot with a BB rifle - didn't think the BB would go through the moon boot I was wearing. And now that I am thinking about BBs .... I think Jeremy shot me in the head, from a distance of course, when we still lived in Iowa ..... hmmm. I guess I should have picked up on the dangers sooner .... could have shot my eye out!
Hunting was great! Real guns, orange vests and hats - A MAN'S SPORT! My first try at an elk was ... well, funny. I tracked him, got into position .... took a steady aim ... fired a shot. I missed! And you know, I still don't understand why. I HAD HIS HUMONGOUS RACK RIGHT IN MY SCOPE!!
The last deer I shot was another story, one that still makes my entire family laugh hysterically. Once again, I tracked it. I got into position. I took aim. I fired. Blew off its leg. I fired again. Blew off another leg. Fired again. Third leg gone. Whew, I was sweating! Fourth shot fired. I missed. (Which is not really a bad thing - hitting one leg is a difficult shot!) I handed the gun to Josh and let him take care of the deer. It was the shortest deer I had ever seen!