Winter in June!! A cold, dreary, breezy morning. Clouds threatening snow.

I’m on Ed and Laura Opler’s Flying Fish Hook Ranch east of Boulder, WY. It was formerly the Mitchell Ranch – owned by brothers Finis and Dennis Mitchell. Finis was responsible for stocking many of the high Wind River lakes with trout. His nephew, Hank Mitchell, was the husband of Mary Kay Jensen who was our Boulder postmistress for many years.
The 1500-plus acres of bright spring green meadows tucked in the shadow of the Wind River range are bordered by hills peppered with dark green junipers amidst silvery-green sage and red and grey rocky outcrops covered with lichen. Scab Creek and Silver Creek serve to define the property. Irrigation ditches full of water wind their way throughout. There is a neat little cabin on the property called the “hunter’s cabin”. The main house and bunkhouse were built around the year 2000 by Lars Michnevich and crews under Jim Roscoe’s construction firm. This information was provided to me by Lars.

There are a few trees, two ancient cottonwoods and a willow, snuggled near the house. They look a little out of place and I wonder if they were planted there or if the house site was planned to be close to them. There are other cottonwoods as well as aspens along the draws east of the meadows.
I take a little walk in the drizzle. Elk tracks. A curious pronghorn. Balsamroot blooming high on the hillsides. I paint a little watercolor sketch of the main house and cottonwoods. Not very successful. I’ll blame that on to sitting in the car with the rain pelting the windshield.

– Charmian McLellan