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Memories of the American West

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Editor’s Note: If you follow Bob Justus here on Now Habersham you know how much he loves the American west. He’s planning a trip to Wyoming this August. Here he shares memories of past trips as he prepares for his next great adventure.

While in the Air Force my family and I lived three years in Denver, Colorado, and over two years in Des Moines, Iowa. Also, we had a short but pleasant stay in San Antonio, Texas. As a boy while I was reading Zane Grey’s western novels and history of the American West I longed to travel and live in the west. In the service, new assignments and traveling back and forth gave opportunity to see this great country. After retirement from the US Air Force in June 1971, I and family settled in Habersham County, Georgia. At long last, Florine, my wife, could have a real home after moving here and yon.

My love for the west did not flag as a civilian. In 1993, I went elk hunting with friends to Colorado, but had no luck.  I went back in 1995 to hunt Grand Mesa, and enjoyed it but saw no deer or elk of suitable size.  Back in Georgia, my dad, Neal Justus, with my brothers and friends, had a hunting club in central Georgia for several years. I was fortunate to get some good whitetail bucks hunting there.

Ronald Vandiver, who from his youth went west with his dad, and I took two journeys to Wiggins Fork, north of Dubois, a place he knew for years. We also camped at Shell Creek in the Big Horn Mountains, where moose walked through the camp. In later years, with others on two occasions I camped and fished on the N. Platte River.

Dick, a brother, first began going west to camp and fish with friends and in 1997, having “retired” again, I joined them on a journey west to Dubois, Wyoming.  I fell in love with Wyoming, and in time camped and traveled over all four great mountain ranges.

Wyoming’s variety of history, mountain ranges, badlands and plains makes it a desirable place to travel, fish and camp. I would also love a return visit to Idaho. A ride along the Salmon River and over the Teton Mountains to reach Colorado above Jackson Hole was lovely and interesting. Wildlife such as eagles, coyotes and wolves, deer, elk, buffalo, mountain sheep and deer can be seen along the streams. On the Teton road, among trees and flowers, where once a buck deer acted tame, I had images of Eden in mind.

“On North Platte at Miracle Mile in the river’s turbulent flow hefty trout rise to make us smile, strike swiftly and fight a while, with leaps and rushes to and fro. The river is life in this land where sage and rocky cliffs abound, and in some areas dunes of sand, where the antelope buck guards his band from other bucks fooling around. Now Miracle Mile is miles away across this great country I love, but scenes oft appear day to day of the hefty trout tossing spray while a bright sun beams from above.”

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