Bairoil is an oilfield community located in south-central Wyoming. I grew up there. The town’s population would rise and fall with surges and downturns in the oil and gas industries. The population of Bairoil would range from 200 to 350 residents during the time I grew up there. I think it is far less populated now. The people who lived there were honest, hard-working, good, and down-to-earth. It was a tight-knit community where everyone knew everyone else. Bairoil Grade School (BGS) was the community center for the municipality. I attended BGS from Kindergarten until my graduation from the 8th grade. My classmates came and went through those years as I suspect happens in a lot of oilfield-driven towns. Nonetheless, I loved it.
Seemingly everything, for a kid who loved the outdoors, could be done there.
Green Mountain is northwest of Bairoil, Wyoming. It is far less famous than many of the large mountain ranges of Wyoming. In fact, many residents of the state would even be hard pressed to tell you much about it. Green Mountain lies on the northeast boundary of the Red Desert. It is home to numerous big game species such as Mule Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, Moose, and Elk. Aspen, Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Willow, Sagebrush, numerous wildflowers, and a variety of grasses make up its’ flora. Ponds, streams, creeks, and springs feed the plants and animals of this region.
Green Mountain is where I fell in love with the wild. I learned to hunt, fish, camp, hike, explore, and adventure in or about its’ boundaries. In the days before video games and cable television (we had one to two channels using an outdoor antenna), I would pass what would have been idle hours going up to the mountain. I remember the ruts of Low Pass, Stratton, and Hatsell roads. These were the main thoroughfares to access the mountain from where I lived. Like most things on a mountain, the destination was worth the journey getting there.
I fondly remember fishing for Brook Trout in clear mountain creeks and streams. All that was needed was a little fishing line and some hooks. Willow branches provided the poles. Worms and insects were the bait. I could catch enough, even though the fish were small, for an evening’s meal over an open campfire. The fish would be skewered and roasted over the flames until crispy on the outside. Roasted marshmallows always made for a good dessert.
I loved and respected Green Mountain. In return, Green Mountain gave back to me many endless hours of entertainment and enjoyment. I learned to spot its’ many species of big game. I learned to fish without having all the necessary equipment by today’s standards. I learned to hike and breath good mountain air. I learned how challenging a trail could be when it was interrupted by a steep precipice. I learned putting boots in the dirt could lead to a wild and adventurous place just as easily as driving or flying to one
The locals know it well. They might be a little sore I am telling you about it. When something feels like it is in your back yard, you tend to get possessive about it. I understand the logic, but I want others to know about my background. I am proud of it. I am proud of the people with whom I shared my experiences. Thank you, Green Mountain, for letting me cut my teeth and honing my outdoor skills. Green Mountain is where it all started for me. This is where I began to grow into a mountain man.