Effects of Illegal Poaching in Wyoming

5:30 a.m. A truck makes its way down the winding dirt road in the Medicine Bow area of Wyoming. A deer is illuminated in the bright headlights. A man steps out, fires a single shot and drops the deer. As he begins harvesting the illegally taken deer, a landowner down the road begins his curious approach. Knowing what he’s done, the man fleas leaving the animal to waste with only the head removed. A story like this is not uncommon or unheard of across the United States.

The term poaching often brings to mind elephant tusks in Africa and shark fins in Japan. In Wyoming, poaching is just as big of a problem and can be devastating to wildlife and ecological resources. 

This story is not unique. This story is not simple. Cases like this are dealt with by the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish each and every day. 

“So normally like 2018, I had over 100 what I would call a case,” said Bill Brinegar, a game warden in South Laramie. “Some cases have 15 or 20 pieces of paper like warnings and citations, but it’s all one case.” 

Brinegar has been with the Wyoming Game and Fish for 15 years and says he has a true passion for wildlife conservation and management. Born in California, Brinegar came to Wyoming at a young age with his father who was in the Air Force. When he turned 19, he left for a brief stint, and came back to the state to pursue his passion. 

With three game wardens in the Laramie area, those 100 cases might only equal one third of the total workload of the department. Game wardens say that their high workload in mitigating the effects of poaching puts them under a tremendous amount of stress. Those effects are wide-reaching and extremely hard to control. 

“[It’s] a huge hit in the management and what they do to account for the management of those herds, and how to issue licenses,” said Brandon Specht, owner of the West Laramie Fly Store.

Management of animal populations is something that can be very difficult to do when poaching is a factor. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department only issues a certain number of hunting licenses for different species in a given year. 

“Flying in helicopters, counting deer and elk” said Brinegar when discussing parts of his day-to-day job. The number of licenses that are distributed determined by wildlife agencies who count herd sizes using helicopters, as well as acquiring reports from locals about population size and stability. The number of animals the Game and Fish likes to see is known as a healthy population. 

“A healthy population is around half of the ecosystems maximum capacity for a given species,” said Jason Sherwood, the Regional Access Coordinator and Senior Game Warden for Wyoming Game and Fish. 

Hunting licenses issued help keep that number healthy and consistent. The problem starts when those animals are taken out of season, without a license, thus affecting the healthy population size that Game Wardens come up with.  

Going into any given hunting shop or walking around any given town in the state of Wyoming, it’s not uncommon to see some form of advert or Public Service Announcements with the mantra, “Stop Poaching”, followed by a hotline direct to the Game and Fish department to report suspicious acts or suspected poaching incidents. 

Some are asking, is poaching a big enough problem in the state to warrant the number of PSAs and adverts plastered all over every hunting shop? 

“Yes, it is. I don’t know that the amount of it that’s done may be correlated to that. But the effect that even a minimal amount of it has is worth the amount of effort they put into it,” said Specht. 

Specht works with the Game and Fish on certain cases of poaching. When the game warden comes in inquiring about suspects, Specht answers questions about licensing to determine how truthful that suspect is being with the game warden. 

As is the case with most things, the “rather be over prepared and not need it than under prepared and regret it” mantra seemingly is a common theme from these PSAs. If it helps solve one case, give one clue, or stop one poacher, the Game and Fish believes that the PSAs have done their job. 

Within the realm of wildlife violations, poaching has many different layers. Whether it be the person looking for the biggest trophy and shooting outside of the tag limit, or the person attempting to feed themselves from lack of a better option, both of the cases fall under the definition of wildlife violations. In that definition, there are, yet again, more layers. 

“If someone went out, without a license, and they shot [a] deer, its generally referred to as our winter range statute because in its inception, it was designed to target those guys that were going out on the winter range when the mule deer were rutting and they would poach a big deer.” said Brinegar. 

This type of offense is the most severe poaching offense under the purview of the Game and Fish – so severe that three separate convictions of this violation can result in a felony. 

“We have that level, all the way down to, let’s say you shot a little fork and horn without a license and you’re trying to feed your family, then that would just be ‘take without a license’.” said Brinegar. 

Within the variety of severity, there is even more variety in the way each case is handled. Some cases are cut and dry, with a witness, a license plate number, and hard evidence. Other cases are much more involved. Sometimes, all the Game and Fish have to work with is small breadcrumbs that may point them in the right direction. 

“There’s a bull elk that’s dead next to the road, it’s clearly been shot, and it’s really close to where, days prior, I just worked a poaching investigation where a guy shot two elk. So, on first sight, it’s like ‘Oh this must be part of that, we just didn’t find it the first day.’ But [I] dig through the elk, I find a bullet, completely different bullet, the guy was alone, so he didn’t have two rifles.” said Brinegar, in reference to a case he worked a year ago. 

This particular case ended up being related to a completely different perpetrator than the previous case even though all clues pointed to the former investigation. The department could have easily stuck him with a third illegally taken elk charge. However, after much investigation and getting their hands dirty, the wardens discovered a hunter legally shot the elk, didn’t see where it ran to after getting shot, and then it happened to die next to the road, near the scene of the other investigation. This is known as a cripple loss, which while unfortunate, is not considered poaching. 

In late October 2019, a man was sentenced to nine years in prison in Sheridan County, Wyoming after 113 carcasses of whitetail deer were found throughout his property. Along with the $110,000 fine, he must also repay $144,000 in restitution costs. 113 whitetail deer are an amount that can affect the healthy population of a herd for not only this generation, but for future generations of that species, according to the Sheridan Press. 

These are particularly the cases that the Game and Fish fight to solve and bring to justice. The main focus of a warden is to manage the wildlife. When a person illegally takes 113 deer over a 20-year period, it makes the job of a warden that much more difficult. 

“When someone poaches, they are not just killing that single animal, they are stealing the opportunity for others to enjoy and use that resource.” said Sherwood. 

The number of licenses sold each year directly correlates to the health of a species population, if that number is not regulated, then everyone suffers because of it. The wardens have more casework, the hunters in the state have less opportunity to hunt, and the species suffers.  

Hunting, fishing and anything outdoors for Wyomingites is and always has been a way of life. 

“I’ve been fishing as long as I can remember and I’ve been hunting ever since I’ve been of legal age. It’s what my household grew up with,” said Four Seasons Anglers employee, Josh McPeak. 

The reach of a Wyoming game warden is wide. Sometimes, they’re neighbors with their personal phone numbers listed online for public access. The closeness of a community engrossed in hunting culture, connected so deeply with those who protect that culture is nothing short of astonishing. 

         “I have never witnessed poaching personally; however, I’ve heard of certain incidences occurring. My old neighbor was a game warden, and he would tell us about certain poaching incidences occurring,” said University of Wyoming student, Taurey Carr.

         A game warden is not simply there to catch the bad guy. A game warden is there to be involved with the community and protect resources that run so deeply within the roots of that community. 

         The problem of poaching in Wyoming, as small as it may seem with not a lot of news coverage, is still a problem that residents and game wardens alike must deal with. There can be many negative effects on ecosystems, different species, and the environment even with one illegally taken animal. The Game and Fish Department goes to great lengths in order to allow for sustainable hunting practices. Without this amount of involvement, there wouldn’t be a game resource for people of this state to enjoy. 

The effects of chemical fracking on Wyoming’s natural environment

Information gathered: 2017, edited and published: 2019

Life without the oil and gas industry might look much different than the world we know today. In 2016, the United States consumed 27 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to power everything from residential houses to commercial buildings. As it relates to the state of Wyoming, the oil and gas industry provides major economical benefits as well as providing energy to many. However, as necessary as these commodities are to sustain modern life, the methods that are used to extract and gather oil and gas aren’t exactly sustainable or healthy for surrounding environments, water quality and air quality.

One of the main methods of retrieving these materials is hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. Fracking is the process of sending a mixture of immense amounts of water, sand and some chemicals into an oil or gas well, and sending a short but aggressive pulse through the material to crack the rock, and create flow pathways for the wanted materials, according to a 2015 BBC article. 

I sat down with Director of the Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center, Peter Stahl and he provided some insight into the world of fracking. 

“I used to live in Oklahoma for four years in college, and never once experienced an earthquake. After they started doing all that injection of water into the subsurface, I went for a professional society meeting [recently], and the first night I’m sleeping in a hotel, in Oklahoma City, I got woken up in the middle of the night by an earthquake,” said Stahl.  

As seen in Stahl’s testimony, the use of hydraulic fracking has had some lasting effects on the geology of Oklahoma. If the environment of Oklahoma has been effected by processes of collection in such a short time, it only makes sense that the state of Wyoming would have just as many issues considering Wyoming produces more oil and gas consistently than Oklahoma.

Just like every other controversial issue, there are opinions on either side of the spectrum. I spoke with David Taylor, professor of applied economics in the agricultural department at the University of Wyoming to find out his opinions on the industry as a whole.

“The positive side [of the industry] is it creates jobs, good paying jobs. Lots of tax revenue, oil and gas and minerals is about 70 percent of our operating tax revenue [in the state].” 

In addition to economics, the effectiveness of fracking also intrigues some people. 

“My opinion is it’s absolutely effective.” said Mark Northam, Executive Director of the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources “We have some of the lowest gasoline and diesel prices in the world because we are pretty much self-sufficient in producing our own oil [in Wyoming].” 

On the other side of the argument however, are lobbyists and environmental groups who are concerned about the effects of the oil and gas industries on Wyoming’s environment. Their concerns are mainly rooted in the water quality around drilling sites, but are also concerned with the air quality as well, according to Melissa Horton’s 2015 article.

Image from: Salt Lake Tribune

However, the most worrisome part of this whole industry is how companies are allowed to keep the public essentially in the dark when it comes to their techniques. The companies that utilize this technique to get resources from the ground, are not required to disclose the information about what chemicals are going into the ground, unless there is a legal issue involving said companies, as seen on the EPA’s website under regulations on hydraulic fracturing. As a resident of Wyoming, this should be very concerning because underneath your feet, and right near the water you drink, there are mysterious chemicals being pumped into the ground at alarming rates. 

“I think if you’re putting stuff into everybody’s environment, it should be fully disclosed. It’s the same thing, genetically modified foods, you should be able to read the package and know what you’re buying,” said Stahl.

There have been a number of court cases filed against oil and gas companies, for the contamination of water wells on their property. Often times, these cases are settled quickly, as companies attempt to cover up the issues to a certain extent, so they can continue to drill, make money, and provide resources.

There have been some instances in Wyoming where some residents’ wells needed to be capped off and shut down due to the contamination being so bad, as seen in Josh Fox’s Gasland documentary. The shutdown of these wells leaves citizens without a reliable source of water, a problem within a problem. 

Usually, in these types of situations, something was done incorrectly.

“If done correctly, it is 100 percent safe. Where there have been problems is, first of all, when operators were learning to use this technology, or if they take shortcuts,” said Northam.

Regardless, when dealing with these harmful chemicals, workers need to be absolutely sure that they are doing everything correctly, by the book, and in accordance with the law. However, the problem will seemingly only continue to grow as in 2018, more than 10,000 applications for oil and gas permits were filed. In just the state of Wyoming. With this amount of applications, there are bound to be more rigs built, more drilling occurring, and more chemicals being put into the environment.

The United States has proven itself to be one of the most gluttonous countries when it comes to the use of oil and gas. Because of this overuse and exploitation of natural resources, methods to extract these materials that are harmful to the environment are very prevalent. One of the largest parts of Wyoming’s economy is the oil and gas industry, and as a result, Wyoming’s environment is suffering. 



Mark Northam, School of Energy Resources Director, face-to-face interview 11/13/17

David Taylor, Professor/Extension Specialist in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, face-to-face interview, 11/20/17

Peter Stahl, Director of Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center, face-to-face interview, 11/20/17

Background Sources

Horton, M. (2015, January 19). What are the effects of fracking on the environment? Retrieved from, Investopedia

Fox, J. (Director). (2010). Gasland[Motion picture]. USA: HBO.

Natural Gas Extraction – Hydraulic Fracturing. (2016, December 30). Retrieved from EPA

What is fracking and why is it controversial? (2015, December 16). Retrieved from BBC

Self-Reflection on Multimedia Production-Spring 2019 (Blog Post #10)

First things first, one of my main goals in this class was to improve upon my written communication skills. Speaking from a very biased perspective, I think I have achieved this goal.

Looking back on my first blog post and some of the things I wanted to learn and expected to learn were, photo production, video production and the written elements that go along with those things. Throughout this class, photography was a major point and discussion. I think as the class went on, I learned how to not only take relevant photos for stories, include them at interesting and valuable times in those stories, but how to write about those photos and create interesting dialogue based on them. That was another big goal of mine, which was achieved from the help of this course.

One of the main skills I learned however, was the art of the interview. I was always shy, hesitant and not confident in myself enough to get a good interview that was worthwhile for a story I wanted to write. During this course however, being forced to gather interviews and useful information from these sources was very valuable in upping my confidence and allowing me to become more comfortable with speaking with strangers about their passions and what they’re experts in. I learned that I must be thoroughly prepared to ask meaningful questions to get good information about a certain topic. These skills will inevitably be valuable when I get a career in a journalistic field as I so desperately desire.

The most engaging and fascinating assignment that was produced this semester was definitely the google maps project. I felt as though I was producing real content, and not just another assignment. It felt like real journalistic work.

On a different note, the most challenging of all assignments was the web story. I chose to profile a local business, and in order to write the story, I had to interact with owners, customers and employees. As I discussed earlier, this was very challenging for me, however as the assignment progressed, I became more confident in my abilities and wound up producing what I thought was a good story about a great business.

With all of these things, it’s not about the actually writing, when you have good subjects, and good, interesting leads, the stories write themselves. What this class has done for me was taught me how to pinpoint these interesting subjects and stories and allow what I’ve learned technically in the course to shine through and really profile and write good content.


Ryan Crawford – An Artist’s Profile – Video (Blog Post #9)

Ryan Crawford – An Artist’s Profile. Filmed by Noah Peschio

Highlighted in this video is artist Ryan Crawford. You may recognize the name from my Top 5 Climbing Areas post, as Ryan contributed a quote and a photo for the post. Aside from his pottery, Ryan boasts many talents, including his climbing.

I decided to highlight his incredible work and tell the story of his process, inspirations, and goals as an artist. Being a student, he studies ceramics at the University of Wyoming, and by surrounding himself with the vast amount of talent found at the art department, he is increasingly producing higher quality works. To see some of these excellent pieces on display, check out Ryan’s art Instagram account as he posts some of his more intricate pieces.

As far as my experience making this film, I tried to take a lot of my inspiration from VICE videos and their profiles on interesting people. Those films are really well done, and the stories are always great. So for my own video, I put the story first, I had a great subject, so it was relatively easy to put forward the story to the clips. Art is always an interesting thing to look at, so the shots in the film were easy to obtain as I filmed what I would’ve looked at had the cameras not been a factor.

With that being said, the part I did not enjoy was the editing and combing of these clips. It was tedious to make sure the progression of the process of him creating was in order so one shot was the beginning of the process and the next was the final piece. Also, I had a LOT of footage, and it was tough to condense it down into the required 4 minutes.

What I wish I would have done a little differently was create a better plan for the shots. I had what I thought was a thorough plan, however, Ryan’s process was very quick and I had to take what I could get. I didn’t get to utilize all of the tools in my arsenal that I brought that day, and I think I could’ve done a lot better if I had another shot, but the clay was gone, and the art had been created. It was a one and done type deal.

I’ve always had an affinity for the art of filming and videography, and I could really see myself utilizing it within a journalistic career as a supplemental to written stories, similar to my inspiration of VICE. However, I could also see myself creating stand alone video content with the skill I have learned and developed in and out of this course.

Utilizing Instagram to Promote Stories (Blog Post #8)


Instagram can be a fantastic way for journalists to promote their stories, get their name out there, and interact directly with readers. However, with this being said, there is definitely a right and wrong way to do things when it comes to Instagram.

Previously, my experience with Instagram was very limited, and my knowledge of Canva was even less.

However, when I created posts for my new Instagram page, I very deliberately made the choice for the design of each post to be the same. First, all the colors, fonts, and layouts matched each other. But most importantly, all the fonts, colors, and layouts matched that of my blog website, giving the reader continuity when they found the Instagram and and followed the link provided there.

Challenges of this assignment included things like, how difficult and how many hoops you have to jump through just to create and Instagram account. Verifying email addresses, confirming passwords, it’s all a little too excessive.

During this project, I was very surprised by the engagement I received on the posts. I expected to have the posts “liked” by my girlfriend when I shared the account with her, however, I didn’t not expect several others to be liking, commenting and interacting with my posts. Checking the stats on this blog, the link in my Instagram bio was used 4 times today, all from individuals that I didn’t know. The power of a hashtag goes a long way.

Throughout a professional career, utilizing things like Instagram will be a large part of my personal career. I plan to do things exactly like this assignment, promotion of work that I’ve done. Also, if it calls for it, a career in new and social media might be on my plate. I’m prepared to operate any social media for companies as that time comes.

The digital age is in full force, and in order for journalists to not be left in the dust of computers and cell phones, they must adapt and learn to conquer the digital world just the way they conquered the print world.


Conceptual Language Usage from L’Orange and Kool Keith

The thought of conceptual metaphors is elusive, and ever present. What does this mean? Each and every day humans make sense of the reality around them by creating these metaphors. Not the type of metaphors seen in poetry where authors compare one thing to another, although similar, very different things apply to conceptual metaphors. Conceptual metaphors strive to make sense of reality by linking a concrete object (source domain) to an abstract idea (target domain) in order to better understand said abstract idea. In addition to the conceptual metaphors, we often see larger, more encompassing types of metaphors in something referred to as a general metaphor. These include subjects such as STATES ARE EMOTIONS, PURPOSES ARE DESTINATIONS, EVENTS ARE ACTIONS, and GENERIC IS SPECIFIC. Now, these general metaphors can be identified through a few different types of things including image metaphors and metonymies. With the combination of all these parts of language, we see a shape of what everyday language is and how it is created. However, even though these concepts are seen and heard in everyday life, the idea of them is elusive because it is so engrained in people’s lives that they rarely realize precisely what they are accomplishing. Even more so, these metaphors are seen in music performances. In the rest of this paper, I will discuss and analyze the conceptual metaphors found in a collaborative album from two members of the Mello Music Group, L’Orange and Kool Keith. 


-Indefinite-Can have a purpose, can also be haphazard
-Irreversible-Once done, cannot be undone
-Sequences-Happens in a certain order
-Quantifies rates of change-A change that can be quantified
-Imaginary-Concrete event

The second track on this album titled, “The Traveler”, embodies the conceptual metaphor of TIME IS MOTION.  This conceptual metaphor is seen in many lyrics through the album, however, in The Traveler specifically, the lyric goes, 

My time travel existence is a slight mission/Moving the courses/Changing the vision/Adjusting through the weather reactions/See the cerebrum, how fast I’m passing/Every thought is a different action

He speaks about time travel and also touches on how fast he is moving, thus, making it clear that TIME IS MOTION. Even on a smaller scale, the idea of traveling through time makes it apparent that you can move about in time, which is a concept. Time is not a concrete thing, which is why Kool Keith has to assign a target domain of moving through this time in order for the concept to make sense. If this target domain was not assigned or universally understood, the idea of moving through something that does not exist would seem completely irrational.

A little later in the same track, we see another example of this conceptual metaphor. This time from a featured artist, J-Live. He says;

I’m a travelling man/Moving through space and time most definitely/Since I was a little bush baby/Had to jump back and pinch myself/Timeless cuteness

            Here we see an example of how explaining a concept such as time in a way that people will understand the point, it makes it much easier to comprehend such abstract topics. The motion he talks about through space and time, make it clear his objective is to prove that time is something that can be moved through just the way you move through a room. However, at the end of the lyric we see something different. Still pertaining to the idea that TIME IS MOTION, but in a different sense. It shows that a feature of someone or something cannot be changed or altered through the motion of time itself. Meaning, that even though time has moved forward, the cuteness as he refers to, has stayed the same. 

            An image metaphor presents itself here as he refers to himself in a childlike form to present a sort of innocence. This is an image metaphor because it paints a mental image for listeners that this man who is speaking on very serious topics becomes a child in their minds, making it easier for the message to be received. 

            Overarching this entire idea that TIME IS MOTION is a much larger, more general metaphor of GENERIC IS SPECIFIC. What this means is that, by using generic terms such as time and motion, a more specific conclusion can be reached. The way it’s seen in these lyrics is specifically showing how the power of an elusive concept like time can be used to define things like how moving through time in a more palatable manner. 


-Goals, purpose for travelling-Destinations
-Unexpected life events-Detours
-Things that slow or stop you-Roadblocks
-Something that weighs on you and you must carry-Bags
-Milestones-Road signs
-Method of gaining progress-Modes of transportation

Within the album, we don’t see many examples of the conceptual metaphor of LIFE IS A JOURNEY, as this is an album that speaks on the concept of time a lot. However, in the track, Days I used to know, it bares its face. The lyric delivered by L’Orange goes;

His rocket ship in heading/In the general direction of Earth isn’t it/Sure/Have yourself looking at the view/And turn the radio scope on/All by looking one way forward window/No socket am talkin by me/Have I ever led you to the work of navigation

This one is a little difficult to see and we can’t look at it in parts, instead as a whole. We 

see L’Orange talking about a destination, even asking an entity if he has ever led them astray. This lyric does not necessarily touch on the journey in and of itself, however it mostly focuses on the destination that L’Orange is talking about. With any destination however, there must be a journey to get there. That is why it is inferred that this represents LIFE IS A JOURNEY.

            Also in this lyric there is an example of an image metaphor. L’Orange is speaking like he is in a spaceship, which represent the mode of transportation on this journey. It is an image metaphor because of the fact that the best way to describe the scene and how difficult this journey the entity and himself are on. 

The larger general metaphor that represent the conceptual metaphor of LIFE IS A JOURNEY is PURPOSES ARE DESTINATIONS. As a good rule of thumb, general metaphors are easier to understand and explain, so in order to understand life as a journey, we first have to understand that PURPOSES ARE DESTINATIONS. Lives are a purposeful thing, as they all have a destination or at least a path to that destination. So, inevitably, LIFE IS A JOURNEY that has a purpose simply because of the fact it has a destination at the end, in the middle, or at any point within. 


-Conducive to an end-Symbolizes the end of a life
-Imaginary concept-An imaginary symbol for death
-Irreversible-Symbolizes an irreversible part of life
-Quantifies change-A change in life that is quantifiable
-Indefinite-Never know when the reaper will come

            The next track on the album, titled Twenty Fifty-Three,holds yet another example of the concept that TIME IS A REAPER and it comes from yet another featured artist on the album, Mr. Lif. Within his verse he has the set of lines;

I move from 1823 to 2053 casually/Time creates casualties, actually/Whether the great plague, or your homie Bruce with the fake leg/Karma-kaze bomb but time moves on

In this lyric, Mr. Lif is speaking about how time takes away lives. This is very obviously 

the metaphor that TIME IS A REAPER. In a certain sense, time is a reaper because as time passes, the older people get, the closer they get to death, which the reaper symbolizes. However, in this lyric, it is approached differently than this. He is comparing time to things like the plague, and kamikazes, which are very sudden, harsh ways of dying. This proves that time is indefinite because in comparing the end of time to a sudden death, it’s very unexpected and is very hard to define when it will happen. Not the main conceptual metaphor, but I feel as though it should be mentioned that this lyric also touches on the metaphor of TIME IS MOTION with the very last section when he says, “time moves on”.

            The overarching general metaphor that aligns with the conceptual metaphor of TIME IS A REAPER is obviously EVENTS ARE ACTIONS. I say this because EVENTS ARE ACTIONS most often represent the personification of things in order to make sense of an abstract concept. The event that has action being placed on it is time and the reaper is that action. The reaper comes to take time away from an individual, thus putting the action on the event of time. It gets a little confusing when thinking about personifying the reaper, which is also a constructed, abstract idea, however, in relation to time, it is very concrete as it has a face and a figure and time is merely a thought and a very abstract concept. 


            This is a conceptual metaphor not listed by Lakoff and Turner. I tailored this one because I feel as though it is accurate in the way people speak about negative things. When something is beneath you, it is inherently not as good as you, thus negative. 

-Not on the same level-Not as good as something else
-Where the devil resides-Negative things are referred to as “the devil”
-Dark-Not presented in a bright way
-Lower in position -A lower standard
-Usually covered by something-Overshadowed by more “positive” things

            As far as the L’Orange and Kool Keith album, we can see an example of this in the song Twenty Fifty Three when Kool Keith says; 

Satan try to hide pull the top off a man hole/I’ll show you where the devil is

            In this line, he is saying that both the devil and Satan reside below the ground, explained by the manhole portion of the line. Another intricacy found here is that Satan is a negative entity and that he will introduce the person he is talking to throughout the verse to the devil beneath the surface in order to show him what is really bad. Since he has to put this person underneath of him in a sense, he views this individual as negative, or not up to the standards of Kool Keith. 

            An image metaphor that is found here is the manhole part. It is a much more creative way of saying that beneath the ground lies a negative place where this individual belongs. Everyone knows that a manhole cover leads underground so he doesn’t have to explain why the negative part of the world is in a manhole. 

            Also, with this metaphor, a general metaphor makes itself known. STATES ARE LOCATIONS best applies here as things that are negative (the state) are beneath other things (the location)

            In the duration of the album, Time? Astonishing!, by Mello Music Group’s L’Orange and Kool Keith, there are many instances where a conceptual metaphor resides within a general metaphor, allowing listeners to understand the intricacies of their lyrics and the message they wish to convey. While these thoughts are complex when analyzed, in day to day life, in casual listens to the album, these things are second nature and just make sense without much effort being placed in said thoughts. A combination of these two types of different metaphors and the usage of image metaphors, L’Orange and Kool Keith bring together an album full of dense imagery that tell a fantastic tale of what they believe time represents and what it means to them. 


Top 5 climbing areas Lander Wyoming (Blog Post #7)

If you’re a climber from Wyoming, you have definitely heard of a little town called Lander. If you’re not a climber from Wyoming, the fact that a small town of 7,000 people has some of the best climbing in the world may be elusive to you.

Whether you’re a seasoned climber, or a newbie trying to stumble across some cool spots, these are 5 of my favorite locales for doing all sorts of climbing from bouldering to sport climbing in or near Lander, Wyoming.

This is a list for everyone. A list for the best climbers. A list for the novice climber. A list for the person who likes to enjoy everything this area has to offer.

1. The Cabin Boulders

The cabin boulders are very accessible and very secluded in the same vein. Located at the base of the loop road in Sinks Canyon state park, you will find yourself immersed in a boulder field less than 50 yards from the banks of the mighty Popo Agie river.

The cabin boulders are an excellent spot to begin climbing, or hone the craft as it offers bouldering problems ranging in difficulty. They are also one of the best kept secrets on this list, so you will rarely run into fellow climbers if you prefer to be alone with a friend or two.

“It’s a gorgeous little spot at the top of Sinks Canyon. Perfect for staying out of the sun while getting some good routes in.” said avid Cabin Boulders visitor Ryan Crawford (pictured below).

Ryan Crawford attempts a tough move, laid out across one of the routes in the Cabin Boulders field. p/c Ryan Crawford

2. Wild Iris

Simply put, Wild Iris is what put Lander on the map in the climbing world. There is even an outdoor store named after this legendary spot. A short 20 minute drive from the town of Lander will present you with the 283 different routes Wild Iris has to offer. While the vast majority of these routes are sport routes, (rope, harness, and belayer for the uninitiated) you will also find an array of boulder problems to try your luck on. If you are so inclined, the dirt capped parking lot at the base of all of it offers free overnight camping for the climbers who need more than a day to enjoy all that this gorgeous location has to offer.

“Wild Iris has some of the best limestone, and is perfect for climbers of all abilities. Home of the country’s first 5.14, the crag attracts climbers from around the world”, said local climbing enthusiast, Hannah Skinner.

A man enjoys a lead climbing sport route on a Wild Iris face. p/c Moja Gear

3. The Dolomite Band

The dolomite band is the most difficult spot to get to on this list. A hike up from the parking lot off the main road in the state park traverses a very steep hillside. Once you reach the top, near the top of the canyon wall, you will find a pristine ring of dolomite smudged with chalk from past conquerers of the routes it offers.

A top the hillside, you will see the road winding its way down the rest of the canyon, parallel to the Popo Agie river. There is also a wonderful view of the south face of the canyon, lined with Douglas fir and lodgepole pine trees.

“Because of the vegetation shift from summer to winter, and the canyon walls getting direct sunlight, climbers are able to enjoy what Sinks Canyon has to offer all year round” said Lander native and climber Nesto Lowham.

The rewarding view you get at the top of a grueling hike to reach the dolomite band

4. Elemental Climbing Gym

The Elemental Climbing Gym located on Lincoln street in the town of Lander offers a perfect opportunity for beginners and experts alike. Small in area, the creators of this gym keep it jam packed with fresh routes, and training. Warm your fingers up on the various hang boards located around the gym before trying the problem you’ve been eyeing all week while the snow quietly falls outside.

For the beginners, Elemental offers climbing instruction by experienced, talented climbers and all gear you need to get started available for rent. For the advanced climber, there are a multitude of challenging routes, some even impossible, for you to hop on and really work on your climbing form before it’s time to go out and find some nice granite.

A crowd gathers to watch and participate in a competition at Elemental. p/c Elemental Climbing Gym

5. Falls Trail Boulders

The falls trail offer the least intensive climbing experience on this list, however, I included it simply because of the hike itself. While on the approach to the small number of climbable boulders on this trail, you will run across some breathtaking views. The likes of which include a swimming hole with a natural waterslide near the top of the hike.

The swimming hole at the top of the falls trail in Sinks Canyon State Park, Wyoming. p/c Trip Advisor

This, of course, is not a comprehensive list of all the climbing around the beautiful city of Lander, Wyoming, however it is an introduction to 5 of my favorite places to go when I need a fix of climbing.

Lander has much to offer in the outdoor scene, but most of all, it offers climbing areas that are the envy of the world.


Audio Profile – Payton Thomas (Blog Post #5)

Today, we will take a listen to Payton Thomas as he recounts memories from his favorite vacation. Payton has been a good friend of mine for a few years now, and has always had a knack for telling stories and speaking comfortably. When I needed someone to tell an interesting tale, I knew just who to call.

Today’s story teller, Payton Thomas stands outside of his home in Laramie, WY.

Throughout this interview I felt very comfortable. I felt this way for a couple reasons, first, because Payton is a good friend of mine, so talking with him was not an awkward experience at all, and second, I’ve interviewed some higher profile individuals before with an audio recorder, so this was nothing out of the ordinary to me.

Again, taking the portrait was an easy part of this assignment as Payton is a close friend so asking or the act itself did not pose any problems.

The most difficult part of this assignment however, was the editing portion. Taking a 5 minute clip and trimming it down to 2 minutes was very tough. I went through and did a rough edit, only taking out my voice and some blank spaces, and I thought that would be enough. Turns out that only took about a minute off the total length. I did not enjoy editing it further, because I felt as though some of the story was lost. This was the only real surprise of this assignment because when it was first given to me, I thought the editing part would be a quick cut job, but as it turns out, it took quite a lot of effort and meticulous work.

Utilizing audio interviews in the future is something I am very interested in and anticipate in my career. Wanting to become a journalist, this is sort of an expectation as it is the most efficient way to garner quotes for stories, and make sure as a writer you don’t miss anything the subject has to say. Aside from my career, I am interested in the idea of creating and maintaining a podcast. Actually, after I did this profile with Payton, we discussed creating our own.

Overall, this was a good assignment as it opened my eyes to the possibilities that audio can bring. From basic interview formats, to edited down stories, there are many things someone can do with an audio file.


Atmosphere Mountainworks (Blog Post #4)


Atmosphere Mountainworks is a fixture in the Laramie downtown shopping scene. Appealing to outdoors centric people as well as consumers interested in handmade fashion, Atmosphere proves to be a well rounded shop.

Nestled in a glowing downtown, Atmosphere is a quaint little store, with many surprises that lie inside.

“Atmosphere is a good place to find outdoor gear that is sustainably made and local. Both of which are important to me.” said a customer entering the store on a rainy Tuesday.

While there, inside, you will find an amazing atmosphere (pun intended), and shelves filled to the brim of any and all outdoor gear, cut and sew custom clothing.

Atmosphere’s flagship product is known as “The Climber Bag”. This is a vibrantly bright colored backpack, handmade in house, just upstairs. In addition to this bag, they make fanny packs, jackets, and fleece lined pants. There is also a large selection of hand done screen printed merchandise with the Atmosphere logo branded on.

If you’re lucky, you might also encounter one of the shop dogs that hangout with the sewing team.

Cut and Sew

The cut and sew aspect of the business is the main claim to fame. They take what are known as remnant rolls, (which are extra material purchased by larger conglomerates) and create vibrant patterns on bags, pants, coats, and other outdoor gear.

“If some name brand orders 4000 yards of Polartek fleece…Polartek might make 4040 yards of fabric, and so they’ll have a bolt of 40 yards that’s extra and we buy that at a big discount.” said owner Lindsay Olson.

The sewing team looks down on the store as they are hard at work producing bags, pants, jackets and many other outdoor products.

They use these remnant rolls to not only save money from a business perspective, thus lowering prices, Atmosphere is also very conscientious of the waste they produce, even going as far as reusing shipping bags as bags for the consumer to take their new purchase home in.


Atmosphere has been around for a very long time, previously known as Bradley Mountainwear, and changing hands a few times and transitioning into Atmosphere. Just recently, ownership changed hands once again to Lindsay Olson and her husband. Lindsay had previously worked at Atmosphere during the previous ownership, so the transition was an easy and obvious one.

“We’re familiar with the business, we’ve been involved in the business, and I have a passion for designing gear and the creative aspect of it.” said Lindsay Olson.

Although ownership has changed, Atmosphere strives to provide the quality goods customers had grown accustomed to.

The business goals of Atmosphere are remaining largely the same under the new management, to provide the same quality product and service.

Final Thoughts

Atmosphere Mountainworks is a glowing business in downtown Laramie. Atmosphere has created a rapport with the local community as being a trustworthy business that creates a good quality product.

“The people who own the place are very helpful with anything. They also make some really great products.” another customer said.

Atmosphere appeals too many different people within the community of Laramie. Ranging anywhere from the weathered outdoorsman looking for gear for the next expedition, to the new college student looking for a cool new sweatshirt, they have something for everyone.


Study of Conceptual Metaphors from L’Orange and Jeremiah Jae

The thought of conceptual metaphors is elusive, and ever present. What does this mean? Each and every day humans make sense of the reality around them by creating these metaphors. Not the type of metaphors seen in poetry where authors compare one thing to another, although similar, very different things apply to conceptual metaphors. Conceptual metaphors strive to make sense of reality by linking a concrete object (source domain) to an abstract idea (target domain) in order to better understand said abstract idea. Even though these concepts are seen and heard in everyday life, the idea of a conceptual metaphor is elusive because it is so engrained in people’s lives that they rarely realize precisely what they are accomplishing. Even more so, these metaphors are seen in music performances. In the rest of this piece, I will discuss and analyze the conceptual metaphors found in a collaborative album from two members of the Mello Music Group, L’Orange and Jeremiah Jae’s 2015 project, The Night Took Us in Like Family.

Do My Best to Carry On

The first track I’ll analyze is the second cut off the album entitled, “Do My Best to Carry On”. The first conceptual metaphor we see in this song is EMOTION IS A PHYSICAL FORCE. In the lyrics:

I’ll do my best to carry on, I hope somebody up there loves me

These two short bars show that EMOTION IS A PHYSICAL FORCE because L’Orange is stating that he will continue to move forward (another conceptual metaphor we’ll see later), despite the fact that his emotions are attempting to hold him back, proving the physical force that emotions use. It’s obvious he is speaking on emotions because the very next line is, “I hope somebody up there loves me.” 

can hold you back or move you forwarda bad emotion can feel restraining
moves objectsmoves people into making certain decisions
can create frictionemotions can create a friction or tension in relationships
force of nature; waves or thundercan be felt deep within, within the heart, the mind

Taken by the Night

Taken by the night is the next track up. The title itself is a metaphor, DEATH IS NIGHT. If we listen to the song, we hear a major theme throughout is death, so the title is a word of caution, warning listeners to not fall victim to the night (death).

darkdeath is often seen as a dark thing, no more light, turning off a switch
end of the daydeath can be viewed as the end of a day cycle, creating a sense of nighttime
time for resta common saying is “Rest in Peace”

Next, we have a combination of two metaphors from the same song, again, relating to death. The lyrics are as follows;

When the sky turns black, that’s when he’s back on the road, for sure

Here, the two metaphors at play use each other to make sense of the phrases used. The first being, again, DEATH IS NIGHT as I covered previously, and second, LIFE IS A JOURNEY. The second one is seen in the second half of the lyric referring to a road. Of course, no journey is complete without a road of some sorts. 

RoadsChoices made
DetoursUnexpected life events
DestinationsGoals, purpose
RoadblocksThings that slow or stop the journey
Road signsMilestones

All I Need (feat. Gift of Gab)

In this song, yet again, only one conceptual metaphor makes itself very apparent. POLITICS IS WAR is demonstrated in the lyrics:

Even when corruption blow up like napalm, don’t attempt to be a hero, slow down and stay calm people

Now, to understand this one, the lyrics need to be taken in in context. In this verse, Gift of Gab (the featured artist) is speaking on the corruption of politics and his personal views on police brutality in America. Due to the nature of his words, he views politics as a war referring to war techniques like napalm. This one is interesting because it is not directly referring to politics, but rather the effect of corrupt politics as the artist sees. 

an everlasting battlea battle with many casualities
generally 2 sidedbipartisan politics
a goal in mind for each sideattempting to run agendas
a winner when the smoke clearswinners declared by laws and policies

Kicking Glass

A very common theme throughout the entirety of this album is death. We see another example in the song “Kicking Glass” with the metaphor that DEATH IS SLEEP. Very similar to DEATH IS NIGHT, however there are a few key differences. Sleep and death are related in different manners that night and death are. Night provides an end, much like death, but sleep is a lighter way of speaking on the subject of death. We see this in the lyric:

Caught you greasy, believe me there won’t be a next time, if it was me you’d be sleeping where the pets are

Here, we see L’Orange threatening an unnamed entity that he is speaking to throughout the entire verse. He threatens this entity with death, but in a manner that is lighter than blatantly mentioning death itself. Sleep provides the source, so the listener can fully understand the target domain of death and recognize the power behind this threat. 

eyes closed, unconscious stateconsciousness has left the body
a close to the daylife is often referred to as a day, with death being the end to that day
peace, restfulagain, common phrasing such as rest in peace
inevitable, each night your body requires you to sleepdeath for everyone is an inevitable, unavoidable thing

Ignore the Man to Your Right

In this song, a new conceptual metaphor is being presented. GOOD IS THE RIGHT is what is seen here. This, meaning, subconsciously, humans associate things on their right side as being “good” and things on their left side as “bad”. With the lyric, 

Ignore the man to your right, it’s right in front of you, something you gotta earn, love it or let it burn 

Basically, in these lines, Jeremiah Jae is saying, don’t be focused on what’s to your right, the real problem is right in front of you. By ignoring what’s on your right, it’s showing that it’s a trustworthy place, or in other words, GOOD IS THE RIGHT. 

“right hand man”associated as a trustworthy person

Throughout the album created by L’Orange and Jeremiah Jae, we see many conceptual metaphors present themselves. The artists may have not realized precisely what they were achieving with using such language because it is so engrained in human culture, however, their lyrics are given much more meaning through the use of these symbols.