Lander humor, perhaps

Or is it????

I actually took these first two photos yesterday after I took the northern approach to and from town (see earlier post). When I came back home I overshot the turn off to check out the shorter southern approach for photo ops. I decided to wait and post these two with the other southern route photos, which I took this afternoon.

First, I must apologize to the person or persons who live in the little cabin in the first photo because I thought they were responsible for what you will see in the second photo. When I took the photo of the cabin I assumed the access road I was parked near lead off to the left and then curved back along the base of the hill to the cabin. Today, when I came home using the southern route I saw that I was mistaken. The access road to my left actually leads to the hill behind the cabin but then goes up and over it to an unseen location. So here is the cabin photo:

And here is the sign posted at the access road:

Now maybe the sign owner is dead serious and I don’t plan to push the envelope and find out. What’s that saying – leave no trace behind?

NEW photos added beyond this point (except for the pronghorn at the end).

On a lighter note, here are some other photos from the southern approach to town. This is a three shot panorama, left to right:

Here is the road I got to that spot on (coming towards the viewer)

Here are some rock formations a little further up the road, which you may have spotted in picture 1 of 3, above.

Here is the picture above a little more head-on

And here is the same angle but slight askew to show a good sized house on the left, to give you some perspective of size.

Here is a shot of the road ahead.

Here is a pronghorn I saw running through a field on the other side of the road – my first pronghorn sighting this year. I took these two photos with the digital camera.

And now that I have fresh batteries in the digital camera I will carry it with me everywhere. Tomorrow morning I will use it to get some shots of some other critters I have seen here at the house.

So what brings you to Lander?

I’ve only been here a few days and Monday was my first extended stay in town (other than dinner Thursday night and picking up groceries on Saturday). I must say the people here are extremely friendly! The question above is invariably asked and is best answered in one word, or more accurately – an acronym: NOLS, which all the locals understand.

NOLS is the National Outdoor Leadership School, founded in 1965. It’s International Headquarters is here in Lander.

And I should really say that what brings me to Lander is my family, two members of which work for NOLS.

My older-younger brother (a term which other people struggle with but which makes perfect sense to me. I have two younger brothers and Steve is the older of the two), I am very proud to say, is the new CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of NOLS!! He started his new job in March of last year after a 25-year career at Vassar College in New York. He retired from that job in January of last year and while looking for his next position (he was open to ideas as to what it might be) he saw a listing with NOLS, a company he was familiar with because my niece, his daughter, had taken one of their wilderness survival course a few years ago.

Steve’s arrival at NOLS was bittersweet. While he was excited about his new position and could tell he would enjoy the people he works with, he faced the unpleasant task of recommending the temporary furlough of a large part of NOLS staff, not only here in Lander but elsewhere. March of 2020, of course, was when the true impact of the COVID pandemic really started to sink into people’s minds, and had a major impact on the company’s operations with global travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders.

NOLS teaches courses in wilderness survival skills, including medical implications which I will explain later. According to a local news article from a few years ago, NOLS is the largest employer in Lander and occupies four large buildings in town.

Before the pandemic, NOLS employed a large number of people locally, full time, and over 1,000 seasonal workers in the summer months, worldwide. It is truly an international company with campuses or facilities in the western US (Rocky Mountain region, desert southwest, Pacific northwest and Alaska), Canada (Yukon), Mexico, Patagonia in South America, Australia and New Zealand. Now, more than a year later, NOLS is feverishly working on it’s plan to reopen facilities as the COVID threat lessens and their facilities can resume hosting students at the various locations. It is estimated that NOLS is responsible for 20% of the passenger traffic at Riverton Regional Airport, about 25 miles from Lander, as people fly in and out of here for training.

In addition to the NOLS offices and facilities downtown there is the large Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus located about 12 miles south of town. That is where my nephew, Sam, works. He is giving me a tour of that facility Thursday morning so I will have photos of it and more details about what they do there this weekend.

As part of Sam’s 18-month position in facilities management at Wyss (pronounced Weese [rhymes with geese]), he was asked to take one of NOLS training courses. NOLS likes all of it’s employees to fully relate to what it is they do, regardless of what they do for the company. When I had dinner with Sam Thursday evening after I arrived, he told me he will be taking a course in layman’s medical training – to assess injuries, stabilize a patient and assist with transport to a proper medical facility. He said one of the highlights of that course is when the Med Evac helicopter arrives for real-life in-person training of what to do at that stage of evacuation. NOLS trains park rangers, skyjumpers and other fire-fighters, camp supervisors, and other first responders.

I will have more details about NOLS, and hope to get a tour of their downtown Lander facilities when my brother gets back to town next week. Details and photos will appear in future posts.

Getting to Lander (locally)

OK, so I’ve explained how I got here from North Carolina. Now, from where I am temporarily living I have two choices on how to get into town. Lander is a small town of about 7,400 people. It’s Main Street is oriented northwest to southeast.

When I leave the house I go down to the “main” road – a two lane paved road which meanders through the countryside. There I can turn left and it is a short drive which takes me to the central part of town (9th Street or 5th Street depending on which street I take), or right, which is a longer route and takes me to the northwest side of town, by the high school. Since arriving I have taken the shorter route in and out but yesterday I took the longer route and drove in to town to walk up and down the 12 or so blocks of Main Street.

Here are some of the views I experienced today (some photos taken on the way in, some on the way home, in no particular order). First, a two-shot panorama – left to right:

As I took the photo above, this is the rock formation towering above me to my left (I was driving back home). A three shot panorama, I was directly under the rocks in the second photo.

Here is a little bit closer look at the mountains in the distance:

And on the way in to town this was my last stop before reaching Main Street:

In town there were photos of the graduating seniors on banners all along Main Street.

Go Tigers!!