Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mountain Towns, Wolves & Winding Roads

I awoke this morning and thought, 'oh, duh, Laramie is a mountain town.' Sure there were cowboys and cowgirls dancing in the street to a band wearing LARGE cowboy hats, and it's pretty flat in town overall, but the elevation is 7165' and the thunderstorms mountain-issue. We waited in the car for an extra half hour before unloading our gear last night as lightning flashed, thunder rumbled, and a deluge of rainwater filled the gutters. Earlier in the day, before the clouds moved in, we did a short walk/hike on the Happy Jack Trail in the Medicine Bow National Forest, 15 minutes out of town. Today, starting our return trip home, we drove the Medicine Bow Scenic Byway west, enjoying views of 12,000 foot peaks and... a wolf! By its size and color, we were sure it wasn't a coyote loping through a clearing in the woods, but we weren't certain of our assessment until a little fact checking revealed Wyoming wolf populations are deemed 'healthy' enough to permit a hunt. The concept of trophy hunting these animals is not a pleasant thought to my mind. Especially since Wyoming wolves were just down listed from Endangered and Threatened Status in 2012. Ugh
I read more about wolf population numbers and hunting math here:, and found that in most of the state, wolves are considered a Predatory animal and can be shot on sight. Double Ugh. But even placing my views on killing/hunting animals aside, it appears more protection of wolves is warranted and justified to maintain a viable population of this native animal. The wolves' clearly beleaguered status notwithstanding, we felt privileged to see a gray wolf, for a moment, running free.

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