Good God, the snow just keeps on coming! It is now being measured in feet here in Lander, not inches.
I wrote that at 9:38a.m. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when Lander just got buried with a gigantic early winter snowfall. Cowboy State Daily Meteorologist Don Day had singled out Lander for possible heavy accumulations. He was right.
Lander is known for heavy dumps, as Day mentioned.
When we owned the Lander newspaper, the all-time record snowfall hit. I believe it was over 50 inches and it came at the end of April. It was a mess! It occurred in 1999, and my headline over the story about the massive storm was “Storm Of The Century,” which it was.
Today, some 24 years ago, we have never come even close to such a huge storm.
But this Thanksgiving Blizzard has been a doozy.
While Clark, Wyoming, is identified with high winds, Lander historically, is identified with big snowstorms.
But up until Thanksgiving Day, this summer and fall would have been remembered for the unreal perfect fall weather.
It was 60 degrees in Lander Wednesday and I threatened to take the top down on my 21-year old convertible, but Nancy wouldn’t let me.
Now I wish I would have. What a difference a day makes! Especially here in Lander, Wyoming.
We Will Miss These Folks
In recent months, Wyoming lost some of its heroes.
Locally in Fremont County, we lost two pioneer educators who were also famous basketball coaches.
Gebo native Jack King, 98, died after a long career as a coach, teacher, and school administrator. He always provided a steady hand as his schools negotiated the trends in Wyoming over almost three-quarters of a century of educational service. His wife, Mary Jane, died earlier this year. They were married almost 80 years.
One of Jack’s students was Alfred Redman, who also just died. Alfred was a legendary coach who held the state record of 50 straight wins with the Wyoming Indian High School Chiefs. He also won six state championships.
But Alfred was way more than a coach. He desperately worked with youth on the Wind River Indian Reservation to improve their lives with an emphasis on education. He just died at the age of 87.
Another loss for Wyoming was when Pat Henderson of Sheridan died a couple of months ago at the age of 63 from a bout with cancer. Pat headed the Whitney Benefits Foundation. He was just a wonderful man with a super family. He made a difference in Sheridan County.
I had been working on a column about advice to folks thinking of moving to Wyoming. Here are a few of the tidbits that are on that list:
1. Get used to our wind. It was here first.
2. You better like seasons if you are moving to Wyoming. However, please do not get too fond of Spring. Sometimes it lasts one day. Sometimes just an hour.
3. If you do run your vehicle into trouble, don't worry. Some men in a four-wheel drive with liquid refreshments and a tow rope will be along shortly. Stay out of their way. They love helping people.
4. You need a minimum of front wheel drive vehicles in the winter. Sometimes a four-wheel drive only gets you deeper into trouble before you are stuck.
5. In some parts of Northwest Wyoming, you need to be careful in the back country. You are no longer at the top of the food chain. Bears?
6. If you are driving 50 mph and you look out your window and see a beautiful tan and white animal out-running you, don’t worry. Just be impressed. That is a Pronghorn Antelope. We have about 300,000 of them in Wyoming. No, they are not related to deer or elk.
7. We have two kinds of deer. The beautiful Whitetail are considered interlopers while the homely Mule Deer is sort of our pet species. The Muley might be somewhat dumber than its cousin but we love them more, because they are ours.
8. Those huge wooden structures along the Interstate and our other windy highways are not bleachers for the antelope races. They are “snow fences.” Yes, really. Their job is to catch the flying snow before it piles up on top of your car. These have been carefully engineered over the past 50 years to protect you.
9. The fastest vehicles in the USA are three-quarter ton Wyoming pickups pulling horse trailers. Usually driven by a woman!
10. Every lonely intersection has a few trailers and a place that specializes in ice cream cones, sloppy joes, cheese curds, breakfast burritos, rare books, beautiful rocks, or other goodies. Do not pass these places up. Locally, I am thinking about the Crowheart Store or the Farson Merc or the Shoshoni Fast Lane. You get the picture.