The Grandfather Tree

April 10, 2021

     Long before mankind ever stepped foot in the Wind River Canyon, and gave one big river two different names, a pine-tree poked through the dirt near a boulder that had lain there for millennia.  The little cedar-tree flourished and its progeny spread in the canyon.  But, as time wills its power and drought takes its toll, the beautiful little cedar was green no more. 

     The twisted cedar stood there for a longer time then anyone can count and has been the sentinel that has withstood blizzards, windstorms, wildfires, forty-below and one hundred above!  Its grey gnarly branches reaching out and teasing even time itself.

     I have photographed this ancient dead cedar tree many times over more than twenty years, never being any happier with my attempt.  Monday it was 71 degrees, 3 a.m. Tuesday it was snowing hard, Wednesday sunny but cool, Thursday it was 70 again and the snow melted, and yesterday morning we had fresh snow yet again.  And the ancient cedar now had a blanket of fresh snow and the contrasts compelled me to try again; this time in monochrome. The Grandfather Tree in SnowThe Grandfather TreeOld twisted tree long dead and covered with early morning snow in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming.      Springtime in the Wind River Canyon is marked by drastic fluctuations of weather so severe that it's hard to tell what season it really is.  Last week's weather is typical and not unusual at all; it will be 70 again today, Saturday.  Besides some grass greening, how does anyone in this wilderness tell what season it really is------without looking!

     I know the real signal when springtime sort-of arrives in Wyoming------sort-of.  The Marmots pop out of their holes-in-the-ground; they know Spring.  The Yellow-bellied Marmots (locally known as Rock Chucks, but they don't eat rocks!) disappeared in mid-August and have been underground since!  That is over seven months underground waiting for things to green up!!

     The adult males are the first to come up for air and something green to eat; it's been seven months.  They're fuzzy and look like little teddy bears; they are no trouble at all, but make for fun photo-ops.  If you were stuck in a hole for seven months and now there are a half dozen or so noisy baby marmots----you would need to be the first one out, too. Wyoming Yellow-bellied MarmotWyoming Yellow-bellied MarmotMarmot standing and watching me in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.       In all this crazy insanity you need to get out and treat yourself to a wilderness experience; get some mountain air.  Let it clean out your thoughts and meditate a little bit.  You will be surprised by how Mother Nature can heal a stilted mind.

Live long and smart.

All content production is by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved. 

Visit safely my for hordes of wildlife photographs, especially my favorite hummingbirds and Bighorn Sheep.

Both images were produced with the Canon EOS M6 Mark 2 camera.

Thank you very much for your valuable time, hope you will visit me in the Wind River
Canyon again soon.







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