Rescues, Communications, and Connectivity

By Virginia Parker Staat

White Mountain, Wyoming, sunset
White Mountain Sunset © Virginia Staat

In our last newsletter, I extended a gentle challenge to each of you, asking for photos or articles to let us know what you’ve been up to during the pandemic lockdown. The ink was barely dry on that article when David and I loaded the camper on the truck and took a six-week road trip. We had planned to return to Alaska this summer, but with the Canadian border closed, we chose Idaho and its cooler climes instead. Over those wonderful six weeks, we drove over 8,100 miles, dodged fires and cities, and found hundreds of wild horses to photograph. 

When a 4WD truck gets stuck in a 5-ft. snowdrift – it’s really stuck! © David Staat

The most memorable experience was our rescue off White Mountain in Wyoming because of what local officials called a freak blizzard. It was 87 degrees that evening. Less than six hours later, we were snowbound on a remote dirt road, thirty miles from pavement. We were never really in danger. Our truck was just completely stuck in a five-foot tall snowdrift. With weathermen predicting another foot of snow to fall that night, we decided it best to let local authorities know where we were… just in case. The sheriff’s department decided to send two officers and a snowcat to retrieve us. I’m still smiling about the whole experience. Seriously… how many Texans get to ride in a snowcat?

Snowcat to the rescue! © Virginia Staat

While ours might be one of the more bizarre “what did you do over the summer” experiences, I’m certain we all have something to share… and that brings us to the point of this month’s president’s column. 

One of the main concerns we – your RMOWP board and staff members – have is how we can stay connected until our 2021conference. As one Board member told me, she “fears folks will forget about how much fun it is to get together; they will forget the things they have in common.”

David’s first – and hopefully last – ride in a sheriff’s snowcat! © Virginia Staat

Some ideas we’ve been tossing around include taking our conversations virtual by hosting online meetings. We’ve talked about having our photo and writing contest video available on the RMOWP website. We’re also considering offering short online workshops to hone our skills. Maybe we can even host social get-togethers over the Internet.

As we look for ways to stay connected during these strange times, please know that I welcome hearing your ideas and comments. You can email me at Until then please stay safe and keep in touch!