Mother Nature smacked me in the face as I drove over the Galena summit and into the Sawtooth Valley. Snow-capped mountains replaced skyscrapers. Wide open spaces replaced sprawling suburbia. Meadows bursting with wildflowers replaced parking lots. Wildlife replaced people. That summer at the ranch changed me and the crew became my family.
My love affair with the American West began in 2009 with a cross country road trip after college. That summer, I traveled through 27 states and covered over 10,000 miles in six weeks with a friend in a car far too small for my 6’3″ frame. We visited seven national parks that summer and I was blown away.
It was March 18th, 2014. I was sitting at my desk, pretending to be working on a spreadsheet, counting down the hours until 5:00. I was longingly staring at pictures of the mountains on my computer and applying for jobs on CoolWorks.com when I received a phone call from an unknown number. Relieved to have a chance to walk outside for a moment, I answered.
I was the first person to get a job from CoolWorks, and It definitely changed my life. A seasonal job blew my doors, my eyes, and my horizons wide open in the summer of ’72. That summer I found my home in Yellowstone as well as my belief in the life changing power of a seasonal job. I got the first inkling for what would become CoolWorks in January of 1995.
My friends and I jokingly call our home here Neverland, an imaginary time warp that confuses the days and all inklings of time passing. It’s strange to me that this lifestyle which in so many ways contradicts most people’s perceptions of “real life” is the life that fills me up and overloads me with a burning desire to live and love and, most importantly, to never stop yearning.
I was 20 yrs old and hittin’ the road. Excited would be an understatement, though I won’t discount the nerves. The American journeyman, adventurer, and wanderer has usually followed some kind of internal compass which more often than not has pointed west. Growing up in Western Oregon, I had little option but to head east.