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Becoming an outdoors woman -- Part 2
The aroma of sweet peach cobbler and breakfast cornbread filled the air at the Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp where women learned about Dutch oven cooking at the Becoming an Outdoors Woman camp hosted by the Wyoming Game and Fish department. Photo by Alejandra Silva

Becoming an outdoors woman -- Part 2

Jun 28, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

I was accustomed to seeing skyscrapers lay out an array of lights late at night, but in Wyoming I can see constellations just by stepping out the door.

During my time at the Becoming and Outdoors Woman camp earlier this month, I was impressed by the staff from the Wyoming Game and Fish department. These people know everything. Several expert instructors directed many clueless women, like myself, in their areas of expertise -- and many of them were women as well.

It was not intimidating at all. I appreciated their patience and confidence in telling me what to do and how I could master the skill in no time.

We did other activities after our courses were over. I learned all about binoculars -- from how to purchase the best one for me to the importance of light magnification and how it travels through each type.

Saturday night, before returning to our cozy, rustic cabins, we took a hike up to Trail Falls. That was beautiful -- the sound of birds, of the water stream racing down, the breaking of branches as we stepped on the ground and climbed up the steep trail. It was relaxing, and the quick hike was pretty easy.

Unfortunately, I saw no big horn sheep, moose or deer. I did see an osprey. Other women built bird houses or sat down with instructors to talk about wolves and the department's crunched budget .

Having lived in a big city up until last year, I am amazed at where I am today and how I made the move all the way out here -- a state I'd never been to before, nor did I know anybody here.

I was accustomed to seeing skyscrapers lay out an array of lights late at night. But here in Wyoming I see mountains that reach higher up into the sky. I can see constellations just by stepping out the door at night. I only remember seeing those when I was a kid in books in elementary school, or during a summer vacation in Mexico when I was a little girl.

The other 49 women at the camp came from all over Wyoming, with one or two from a neighboring state. I learned about Gillette, Cheyenne, Douglas, Jackson and Laramie, just to name a few, in the long conversations I had with many of these ladies.

All of us had to introduce ourselves when we first arrived. When it was my turn I left out some details about myself. I said I had moved from a big city and, being in the state I was in now, I was convinced I had to grasp the abundant opportunities, exciting things to do, and places to see. As a result, many women were curious, approached me and started a conversation, usually beginning with "why Wyoming?" They also wanted to know if I liked it here, and I learned that many of them were from other states but had been living in Wyoming for some time now.

Some women knew all about shooting a rifle or fly-fishing. Some had never touched a bow and arrow or tried geocaching. Other women learned about outdoor survival, handguns, Dutch-oven cooking, using a map and compass, outdoor photography or big game hunting.

We all left that camp knowing something about something-- whether it was new or a refresher course. I still have a tingling, numb feeling at the tips of my fingers from shooting so many arrows. The instructors of that course, who live in Lander and make their own bows and arrows, said I did well despite it being my first time.

There were other couples that taught courses. It was nice to see them working together and having a passion for the same hobby. My husband jokingly expressed that he "finally had the wife that he always wanted," and I while I threw a not-so joking hook at him and laughed, I realized we would also be sharing some of the same hobbies together too -- because he obviously hates anything that has to do with shopping.

I learned that there is so much more than just looking through a rifle's scope or pulling the knots you make to secure a pack on a horse. And with that, I also learned that you can be placed in a new environment, adapt well, and love it.

Wyoming has so much to offer that I'd be a fool to not try new things. But even if chose not to, just taking a drive out to a different town is something anyone can truly grow to enjoy.

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