A good friend told me once that going to the west makes you feel like you want to run away. I didn’t fully understand what he meant until I got to Spring Creek and saw it for myself. Wyoming can almost be described in the same light as the ocean. The vast expansiveness goes on for miles, hills dipping like great waves without an end in sight. At first glance, you might dismiss Wyoming, as it looks like nothing is really there. However, almost like a complex poem, its takes some time to understand and see the true meaning behind what is directly in front of you.
The other most notable thing about the preserve is how through the nothingness, life is teeming around every corner. It is easy to trample over everything that lives below you, but as Dr. Ian Malcolm famously said in Jurassic Park, “Life always finds a way”. l The seeming absolute quiet is only occasionally broken by the chirping of the White-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys leucurus) or the whistling of the wind. The occasional pronghorn can be seen in the distance, accompanied by the howl of coyotes when the moon is at its highest. Once the milky way fades and the sun begins to rise, heat can be seen radiating off of the land. Walking out by myself to look at the stony valleys and sedge covered hills, I crush a bit of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and bring it to my nose. The pungent aroma will stay on my fingers for a while as I admire the prickly pear (Optunia polycantha)’s yellow blooms in the morning light. The plants have adapted over thousands of years to survive with the little rainfall that Wyoming really gets, which is amazing to observe. The winds can be harsh and unforgiving, but today there is but a little breeze. I can feel the sun on the back of my neck, and I am content.
Does Wyoming make me want to run away? A little bit, yes. Not because I’m trying to escape anything, but almost like a call of the void. To run and just keep running, over jurassic sea beds and archaeological dig sites, through drainage valleys and over the rubber rabbitbush (Ericameria nauseosa) until I can barely see the Medicine Bow peak. Photos simply just do not do the landscape justice, its’ depth is lost to the rolling hills and dipping valleys. Sitting out here and looking out is almost like observing a painting in a famous art museum. You want to be quiet to try and understand everything around you and take it in to its fullest capacity. The west isn’t exactly what I expected, but I love it regardless.