casper mountain

My nephew, Jason Sawdon, is a decorated patrolman for the Wyoming Highway Patrol. It is a position to be very proud of, and while he would never say that he is proud of himself, because he is not that kind of man, we are all proud of him and his work. Still, it is not his position as a patrolman that has endeared Jason to his family.

Jason is a wonderful husband to my niece, Jessi and an amazing daddy to their daughter, Adelaide. He has such a soft heart when it comes to his girls, and he would gladly give them the moon…if he could reach it. I love seeing him with his girls, because the love he feels for them is evidenced on his face. There is a look that you see on a man’s face when he has found that his life’s dream is sitting right there beside him. It’s as if he almost can’t believe how very blessed his life has become. Of course, his girls feel the same way about Jason. They know that when God gave them Jason, He gave them the best He had. That’s how a match made in Heaven works. God gives each party the person that is the very best for them.

Jason has a great sense of humor and brings much fun and laughter into their home. And of course, his good nature and that of my niece, have made their little Adelaide into a bit of a comic in her own right, With parents like hers, what else would she be. She has learned from two of the best comics I know.

All humor aside though, I can honestly say that Jason and Jessi are two people who I feel very blessed to know. They are hard working, talented people, who live life to the fullest. They are involved with their community, and work to make it a better place to live. They aren’t afraid of hard work, and they have made their home a sweet place to raise their family. They love to go camping and hang out with family and friends…especially at the Hadlock place on Casper Mountain. And they love to head back to Michigan to visit Jason’s family there, because family is what it’s all about. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageimageFor most of her life, my granddaughter, Shai Royce made it very clear that she was not into exercise, and most definitely not into outdoor exercise. As she grew up, she would consider going to the gym…but only if there was no other way to stay in shape. Then, she got into Zumba, and going to the gym started to be fun, instead of a lot of work. Still, outdoor sports were just not it for her…even though I tried to get her to join her grandpa and me on the walking path we often walk on.

One day, when the water at Pathfinder Reservoir was so high that it was overflowing the dam, we invited her to go out with us to see it. There was a bit of a walk to get imagethere, but that wasn’t what affected my granddaughter. It was what was at the end of that walk that grabbed her attention. The falls were stunning, no doubt about that. Shai and several friends made repeated trips back out to Pathfinder Reservoir and the falls.

Then, we told her we were going to hike the Bridle Trail on Casper Mountain. Shai decided that she wanted to go along, but I was skeptical. I remembered her telling me that she didn’t like this sort of thing. I told her I wasn’t sure she was up for it…even thought she had walked the Platte River Trail with us a week before. I’m not sure if Shai was offended or determined, but she informed me that she could do it. So, we made the hike. Shai did amazing…better than I did actually. She liked it so much that she and I went again, two days later. She wanted to go again, but time didn’t imageimageallow it. Before I knew it, Shai was moving to Washington to join the rest of her family, but she left here a different girl…an outdoorsy girl, in fact.

Shai has been in Washington just a little more than a month now. She and her brother, Caalab met a girl named Heidi, and Heidi likes to hike. She took them on what Shai deemed the hardest hike she had ever been on, last week. The hike took them to Winchester Mountain. She texted me pictures, and I must say that I need to hike it too. What a magnificent place it is. Shai has come a long way over this past year, and finally my girly girl, who hated the outdoors, has become an outdoorsy girl!! Who would have thought that would happen?

cheryl236Dad and MomSaturday afternoon, after hiking the Bridle Trail on Casper Mountain, Bob and I went up to hike the Braille Trail with our daughter, Corrie Petersen, her husband Kevin and her son, Josh. Black out glasses were provided to give a sighted person an idea of what it is like to travel through life blind. Josh and I decided to hike that way, and what an experience that was. I must say that Blind Man’s Bluff will not prepare you for the reality of going through life blind. I have a lot of respect for any blind person who gets out and lives their life on their own terms. It would take a lot of courage. Of course, since I cannot read Braille, we took off the glasses at each sign that told about the area. It was very interesting to hear about the rocks, trees, the creek, and plant life we were seeing around us.

Then, we read the sign about the tornado that had torn through the Braille Trail in 1978. My memory files immediately took me back to July 20, 1978 at 6:40pm. No, I didn’t know that July 20th was the exact date or that 6:40pm was the exact time, but I’m quite sure it was. My Aunt Ruth Wolfe and her family had come to town to celebrate my parents’ 25th Wedding Anniversary, which was July 18, 1978. The memory was so vivid in my memory files that I can clearly see my Aunt Ruth standing in my parents’ kitchen. Suddenly, she stopped talking and almost ran to the back door. She said, “There’s a tornado somewhere!” She was so serious, but I was still skeptical…until we heard that there had indeed been a tornado on Casper Mountain at that exact time. I was stunned. How could she have known that? I was a young mother of two girls then, and had never been around a tornado. Casper doesn’t get a lot of them, even though we have had warnings, and even tornadoes in the area. Casper Mountain gets even fewer tornadoes than the main Casper area. Still, my aunt, who had been around a few of them, knew the atmospheric changes that precede a tornado, and she was certain that one had struck somewhere in our immediate area.

Now, over 38 years later, while walking a trail on the mountain, that whole scene replayed in my mind. Life is strange that way. Sometimes, memories come in and out of your life like you are watching a movie. It seemed so real that I felt like I could have walked across the room and touched my aunt. I remembered always being imageamazed at the wisdom she had concerning tornadoes. In reality, all of my parents siblings were that way. They had the wisdom that comes with their years on the earth. That was how Aunt Ruth got her wisdom too…living life. It was a great memory of her. As to the Braille Trail, since it had the dedication of the Lions Club and the community, the people came together, cleaned it up, and repaired the damage. The Braille Trail has been damaged a total of three times over the years of its existence…the 1978 tornado, the 1985 flood, and the 1995 winter storms, each time the damaged trees were removed, and the trail areas rebuilt, so that the trail could continue to serve the visually impaired and the community at large. I know I will definitely go back again.

10676136_10203963098216709_6950743894931229963_nAfter her divorce, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Schulenberg Parmely met a man named Brian Cratty. Brian is a pilot and for many years his work was as a pilot for the Life Flight team. Brian and Jennifer are well suited to each other in many ways…such as their work in the medical field. They have spent their lives meeting the medical needs of others, but in very different ways. Jennifer as an Obstetrics nurse, and Brian as a Life Flight pilot. Brian has since retired from his job as a Life Flight pilot, and now is a private pilot, who still flies for others occasionally.

Brian and Jennifer are really good friends. They both enjoy the same things. They hike, ski, run, and they love to travel. They also spend quite a bit of time at their cabin on Casper Mountain. In fact, the mountain is such a big part of their lives that they had a house built a while back that is in the foothills of Casper Mountain. That way, they can go for a hike before the get going on their day, and they don’t have to go very far to do it. In fact it was the love of hiking that we all share, that placed so many of the right people with me when I fell on the Bridle Trail and broke my shoulder. Each one of those people played their part, and I will be forever grateful. Brian and I also have something else in common…physical therapy. He recently had to have Rotator Cuff surgery done, and was taking IMG_1234physical therapy too…something that neither of us wanted to have in common…ever, but there it is. I have since been released, and I’m sure he has too, and I hope his shoulder is doing as well as mine is, because the shoulder is more important than we realize sometimes.

Brian is rather a quiet man, and tries not to be intrusive on family matters, but I think I speak for everyone, when I say that we all consider him an important part of this family. I suppose that the longer he is in this family, the less an outsider he will feel…or maybe, like many people, he will always be a quiet man. I am often that way, so I can completely relate to it. I think some people are just listeners. Today is Brian’s birthday. Happy birthday Brian!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Mountain TornadoYesterday’s rare tornado on Casper Mountain while not scary, because I didn’t know about it until it was over, did take me back a in time a bit, however. A number of years ago, my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim Wolfe were at my mom’s house visiting, we were under a tornado watch. No one was worried about it because it was only a watch, and we didn’t expect anything to come of it. I think we were under the mistaken assumption that we would never have a tornado here…at least I think I was. I’m sure the adults knew that a tornado could happen anywhere, but I was a kid, and I still wanted that cushion of protection. It’s a lot more comfortable to a child to think that these bad things can never come here, and you don’t want your dream world shattered. All too soon you reach an age where you know that storms like these are possible anywhere, and you become watchful, just like my Aunt Ruth was.

As we were visiting, no one was really paying attention to the weather. Suddenly, my Aunt Ruth jumped up and ran to the back door. She looked out the window and said, “There is a tornado somewhere!!” I remember thinking, “No way!! We don’t get those here!!” She insisted that there had been one, but with no way to confirm it right then, they went back to their conversation. I, on the other hand felt a little apprehensive for the rest of the evening. I kept thinking, “Tornados don’t happen here, do they…or do they? Is it save to be here? Should we be going somewhere to hide r something?” Still the adults didn’t seem too concerned, so I went back to what I was doing too, but the memory of that moment has really never left me. I can still vividly see my Aunt Ruth standing at the back door, looking at the sky for clues as to the location of the tornado. I can still hear her voice, clearly saying that there was a tornado somewhere. She was so sure of it

Later that night, as we were watching the news, the weather man said that there had been a tornado on the mountain. I was a little shaken up by that report. The memory of that moment has lived in my memory files for all those years. I don’t know exactly how she knew it that day, but she did. I think I was a little bit in awe of her knowledge of storm systems. I suppose that was because she had been right about it. Now, of course we have things like radar, and Uncle Jim and Aunt Ruthrotation patterns to tell us ahead of time that something is coming, but I am here to tell you that those systems don’t always do exactly what they are supposed to do. Yesterday’s tornado on Casper Mountain did not set of any of the warning systems. I wondered how that could be, until I found out that the tornado was called a Land Spout Tornado, and apparently those don’t show a rotation pattern that can be picked up by radar. So even with all the warning systems we have, no system is fool proof, and there can be the rogue storm the goes against everything known to man concerning storms. Still, they happen. I suppose that then the only warning system is a person to can feel the  weather, like Aunt Ruth.

My parents have always loved the mountains much more than the lakes. Lakes are beautiful too, but in the summertime, they are hot, unless you spend every minute in the water, and the sun beats down on you all day long. On the other hand, the mountains are cooler because of the altitude and the many trees, and there is a feeling of peaceful relaxation that you just can’t get at the lake. The love of the mountains is something I share with my parents. I could hike through the trees for hours and never get tired of it.

Early in their marriage, Mom and Dad went up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and took the opportunity to ride the ski lift to the top of the ski area in the summertime. Bob and I have done that too, so I know how beautiful it is up there. The view of the Tetons, standing majestically in the distance is a view that many people have captured on film, simply because it is so breathtaking. You can see the beauty of the view, even in the black and white photos they had back then. Mom and Dad looked like they were having a wonderful time. If you have never taken a ride on a ski lift in the summertime, it is something I highly recommend, because you get a totally different picture of things without all the snow. And for me, no snow is a good thing.

Mom and Dad shared, with my sisters and me, the beauty that can be found in nature, and in my opinion, the mountains are one of the most beautiful places on earth. So many wonderful family outings have been spent right here on Casper Mountain. My parents felt like the mountains were so magestic, whether it was the towering peaks of the Tetons or the rolling hills of Casper Mountain or The Black Hills. Each one had a beauty all its own…a beauty that was worth seeking out. The mountains have a magesty all their own, and I will always love to go and drink in the peacful beauty that resides there

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