Michael John Balog | My Cabin in the Woods

My Cabin in the Woods

December 02, 2017

Wyoming, Wind River Canyon, Chimney RockWyoming, Wind River Canyon, Chimney RockChimney Rock in beautiful Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      I saw the Wind River Canyon, for the first time, in my fourteenth year.  Coming from the suburbs of Cleveland, "The Heart of Rock & Roll," it was like moving to the Moon.  The old-folks thought if the kids couldn't hear or buy rock music they could all be brainwashed; it didn't work, of course.  Late at night there was a radio-station in Oklahoma that jacked-up the power and played searing rock:  I would fall asleep with a radio under my pillow!

     Wyoming is a different place entirely, and that may be my best description.  The air is clean and the people are friendly in a way that can be disarming to travelers.  An editor at the Cody newspaper once asked me, "Why are people so friendly in Wyoming?"  I told him, "It's the altitude....lack of oxygen to the brain."  We both had a good laugh.

     There's a freedom to the air, a freedom to the open-spaces, and the mountains free your heart like few places in this country.  Mother Nature isn't just on display in Wyoming, she lives out here somewhere. All you have to do to find her is to spend some time in the high-country; mountain air cleans out all the stressful crap of the 21st century.                                                                Wind River Canyon, WyomingWind River Canyon, WyomingThe Tepees in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.

     From that late-day in July so many years ago, I knew that someday I wanted to live in the Wind River Canyon.  It was even written in a book I have...."The Wind River Canyon is a magical place."  And truly it is quite special.  The weather can change dramatically, and I mean dramatically. 

     It has been unseasonably warm for late-November and early-December, yet it has snowed three times this fall in the canyon.  We've seen 35-below zero in the canyon, with winds that could run you over, but today we could see temps near 60.  Next week my tongue could freeze to the fence-post, or I could get a sunburn, but what my tongue would be..........

     Early in the morning the cliffs are painted with gold, the air whispers the scent of juniper, and the creek sings it's tunes just beyond my backdoor.  I've photographed and cataloged more than 110 species of birds in the Wind River Canyon, and stupid-lucky enough to have spent lots of time with Bighorn Sheep:  Including the rarest of the rare, an Albino Bighorn Sheep named "Snowflake."

Rufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming  -  1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowRufous Hummingbird, Wind River Canyon,Wyoming - 1st Place - 48th Cody Art ShowHummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming, 1st Place-48th Cody Art Show.      I've watched the Aurora wash across the canyon's dark sky; the Moon in eclipse framed by the cliffs, and this summer's fabulous, total solar eclipse.  The mountains of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, the great Andromeda Galaxy, the Orion Nebula and too many deep-sky objects to name individually have all been seen from these darkest of skies.  And yet the tiny hummingbirds that come to nest in the Wind River Canyon every summer are my real favorites to photograph.

     *Hummingbirds are not my interest, they are my obsession.

     When I'm not feeling well and my colitis is flaring up, there's a special place down by the creek----my favorite spot on planet Earth, that seems to make me better.  The spring water brings life not only to the canyon, but to me.  This spot makes me feel better no matter what the cause, and I've witnessed many wonderful things while sitting by the rushing waters. 

     Big stags were seen relaxing in my front yard this fall, and raccoons, ermine, owls and many creepy, crawlies are seen often.  Bald Eagles fly over my cabin and I've heard the cry of the Golden Eagle echoing here.  Life is abundant in the Wind River Canyon. Wind River Canyon - Monochrome with TrainWind River Canyon - Monochrome with TrainMonochrome Landscape of Wind River Canyon with Train, Wyoming.       The sound of the trains rumbling through the canyon makes me smile, a love I got from staying with Nana and Gramps as a child in Ohio.  The sound of an owl hooting at 3 o'clock in the morning is amazing.  The sound of a hummingbird gets my heart to racing.  The sound of thunder echoing back and forth in the canyon should be witnessed, but right now it's as quiet as the field mice I see at night.  

Chipmunk, Wind River Canyon, WyomingChipmunk, Wind River Canyon, WyomingPhotographic Portrait of a Chipmunk in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming.      As I've been known to say, "The Wind River Canyon is a dynamic place to live."  Landslides, slippery roads, "Chief falling rock", blizzards, dumb drivers, no mail, 103 degrees or below zero, it all makes the canyon an interesting place to live.  If the day's news gets you down, as it always will, go for a walk in the canyon.  Clear your mind of troubles, and you will find Mother Nature at your side....or a chipmunk!

     Don't for a moment think I'm rich, the land values around here are low----and I'm not rich.  It's difficult to make a great living when you live out here, in the "middle-of-nowhere."  But I get paid in ways few can ever really understand, my images just hint at this.  Nature will change your life, just give her a chance.

 All images and stories are the property of Michael John Balog and Hogbats Photography and are protected by international copyright laws, such as they are.

Visit my website, www.HogbatsPhotography.com for many more wonderful wildlife and nature photographs from the Wind River Canyon and Wyoming.

Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.