Wherein I Find A Focus

It’s been a while since my last post and I apologize. When I first began writing I would shake with excitement as the number of views and visitors rose to be 70 people in one day. Then I stopped posting and people stopped looking. I don’t blame them because I wouldn’t want to keep visiting a site that never had any new content. I apologize faithful readers but for the past month I have not been idle. In fact, I have written probably about 10 posts this past month but, like most self-conscious writers, the writing was not up to my satisfaction and were quickly discarded. Some people have a hard time understanding how I could so easily toss away 1,000 plus words, but for me, unfortunately I suppose, it is quite a common affair.

For the past month I’ve mulled, pondered, considered and contemplated what the hell to write about and then it hit me – Rendezvous. You may recall one of my first posts mentioned Rendezvous and I casually stated “more on this later,” which brings me to my focus.

Last week, I was sitting in my room trying to figure out something to write. I began stroking my face and felt my beard. I looked into the mirror and laughed at myself because I realized I still had more than five months until it was coming off. I felt my hair too, down to my ears already, and thought this is going to be more difficult than last year.

In about my five months July will rush in and bring with it warmth, camping, hiking, fishing, tourists and Rendezvous. Ahh, Rendezvous. It is a marvelous time, a time when the streets of Pinedale explode with street vendors, old timey music, homemade root beer and heavily bearded men dressed in buckskins and strutting through town.

I truly enjoy many aspects of living and working in rural Wyoming; the cowboy culture, the open spaces, the outdoor opportunities, but I live for Rendezvous. There were several reasons why I left New York for the West, but the main reason was for adventure. If there is any group of people, historically or present, who would understand my lust for adventure it would be the mountain men of the 19th century.

Part of the present Green River Rendezvous celebration is the beard shaving an event. Men begin growing their beards at all different stages and then on the last day of Rendezvous out come the clippers and off go the beards.

Last year, I began growing my beard in April. This year it began on January 1.

I’ve done a couple of searches and noticed there aren’t really any blogs about beard growing and Rendezvous and mountain men so, not only have I found something to write about continually for the next six months, but I’ll also be a trendsetter (#selfrighteous).

This post is extremely jumbled and truthfully I am just getting it down because I need to otherwise it will never happen, but from here on out this blog will be devoted to discussing the history of Rendezvous, mountain men and the Fur Trade of the 1800s, as well as the trials of me, my hair and my beard.

This should make Dave Carroll happy because out of all my followers, he has been the one most vocal about me posting and writing.

This is my beard about one week in.

This is my beard about one week in. I promise it will get progressively more outrageous as the days continue.

A New York Werewolf in Wyoming

Away we go.

After 2,100 miles and 9,000 feet up into the mountains, I have arrived in Pinedale, Wyoming, prepared to begin a new career and, hopefully, have some new adventures. I’ve been here for about a month, and after receiving a few comments on the site, I decided I should do a couple of quick recaps so that my adoring public will know what is going on. So, to start from the beginning, or the end of my life on Long Island, here we go.

The decision to come to Wyoming was made hastily. Following a production job in Dallas, Texas I received a call from the fine folks at the Pinedale Roundup, a weekly newspaper in the quaint town of Pinedale. After going through a whole bunch of interviews, call backs and no job offers, I figured this interview to be just another one on the list, but one week later I received a call from the editor.

“Hi Matthew, we would like to offer you the position,” she said.

“Ok, great,” was all I could think to say.

“I understand it’s a big move, so if you want to take a few days to think about it that’s fine, just let me know within the week.”

She was about to hang up, when I quickly said.

“No, i’ll take it.”

“Huh,” was her reply.

“Yea, I don’t need to think about it. I’ve been thinking about this for two years and don’t need anymore time.”

“Ok…we’ll see you in three weeks,” and she hung up.

Three weeks to pack up my entire life, say goodbye to friends and family and get the hell out of Dodge. After a day of planning and deciding when I was to leave, I decided that the only real obstacle was my brother’s wedding. After that I was free and clear. Mother Nature had other plans.

Hurricane Irene was predicted to come rolling into town two days before I was set to leave. As people flooded into the supermarkets to purchase as much milk and bread as they could, I packed up my clothes, tried to sell my furniture and ate through my leftover food, sure that this would be just another “storm scare” the media loves to throw at me and my fellow Islanders. Without thinking about it I stayed the course.

Everything went relatively smoothly. I put my two weeks notice into work, and basically said, “So long, it’s been good to know ya.” The wedding was a blast, and as I bid farewell to my father I drove home from upstate New York prepared to leave Long Island in two days. But Mother Nature had other plans.

Irene came barreling into the Island with full force. Knocking down power lines, crashing trees and flooding the streets. The storm, I felt, could have been a lot worse, but it was enough to muck-up my plans for departure. As the storm raged, I sat on my stoop, drinking a beer and wondering what life in Wyoming would be like. I personally love storms, and my stoop offered enough protection where I could experience the storm without getting too much rain in my beer. With the wind howling I went to bed with only one day left to prepare.

I woke up, look outside, saw a bit of destruction and continued to pack. As I turned on my electric stove to cook the last of my eggs, I heard a tremendous crash and then the classic “bzoooom” sound of the power going out. I looked out the window and saw a tremendous oak tree had crash through a power line. The best part is the storm had finished blowing four hours ago, but here I was, without power, starving and trying to make a cross-country trip. I shrugged my shoulders, assured the electrical workers would have things up and running in no time, this is, after all, Long Island, but as the sun began to set, and a neighbor informed me we were at the bottom of the repair list, I began to freak out.

You don’t realize it when you’re sitting at home watching TV, listening to music or reading a book beside a lamp, but not having power sucks. Especially trying to pack up your belongings with nothing but a headlamp and a lone Spanish Saint Candle purchased from Western Beef. That night, in true Oregon Trail fashion, I planned out my trip by candlelight.