Wyoming and Wild Things: #atozchallenge, Day 27

Have you ever heard a whistle pig? Seen a wolf in its native habitat? Do you know what a wapiti is?

If not, then maybe you’ve also never been to Wyoming, that wild and wonderful state….

So let me tell you a bit about it – serve as your tour guide, if you will…

The first question is a bit of a trick. Whistle pigs don’t whistle. And, furthermore, they’re not even pigs, or exotic. In my part of North America, we refer to the same member of the rodent species as a woodchuck. In other places, and across the United States on February second, it’s a groundhog….

Nature can sometimes be confusing, but not as confusing as humans attempting to label it! =)

Personally, of the three names, I like whistle pig the best. It’s got character.

Kind of like Wyoming.

There was a time when wolves had been exterminated from this land. Then, Yellowstone National Park began a re-introduction program with 14 Canadian wolves in 1995, and 17 in 1996.. It was a process, and some of the early wolves were shot by nearby ranchers afraid for their livestock, but eventually the wolves began to reclaim their former place in the ecosystem, and to reproduce, and now there are about 300 (check these facts and figures before posting!) wolves in the park. They can often be seen in the Hayden Valley, which is a haven for many species of Wyoming wildlife.

And now, about the wapiti –

Wapiti is Shawnee (check that) for the animal currently known in English as an elk. These large ungulates are abundant in Wyoming, and not just in Yellowstone. There is an elk refuge (need the name), near Jackson Hole – a resort town where you can ski, snowmobile, whitewater raft on the Snake River (although maybe not in a thunderstorm that churns those Class 2 rapids you were anticipating to a much more than you bargained for Class 5 – because I might just be able to tell you that that’s more than a little terrifying, and could lead to a foot injury….not that I know anything about that….). Jackson Hole also has a park whose entrances sport arches made of elk antlers cast off by the bulls after the September rutting season – and, speaking of the rut, there is no sound more lustful to me than the bugling call of the bulls….

Of course, no wild Wyoming post would be complete without mention of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show. Buffalo Bill is long gone, along with Annie Oakley (Little Miss Sure Shot), and the other performers who brought their brand of American Western culture out into the world. But Cody, the town he founded, is still there, and, along with the Cody Nite Rodeo, which still espouses the spirit of the west, there is the Buffalo Bill Museum, where you can learn a great deal – not just about Bill Cody, but about corsets and telegraphs and the history of guns and diseases and Western period art. My Accomplice and I spent a day wandering the museum, and still didn’t see it all…but we had a rodeo to go to!

This post is part of the #atozchallenge. For more wild, wacky, weird, and winsome posts, click the banner.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of all that wild and wonderful Wyoming has to offer. Want to know more? Why not go see for yourself? Where would you go, if you could go anywhere in the world?

One comment

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Antarctica, just because it’s so remote and relatively untouched, with so many unique animals and beautiful snow formations.

    My other dream destination, which many people would also be surprised at, is Iran. I became a Persophile while writing Part II of my most recently completed book, and decided I had to visit Iran, particularly Ishahan and the Fereydan region, for firsthand research for the eventual second draft. I did a lot of research, even writing a paper for a class about my information-seeking strategy, and discovered it’s possible for Americans to go to Iran. The people who’ve gone report feeling very safe, and speak glowingly about the warmth, hospitality, and beauty of the country. My main precautions would be getting a second, dummy passport (in case I travel to Israel during the same ten years), and not saying the purpose of my trip is any kind of research.

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