I love guns and coffee

Mishaps and mayhem from around the West.

  • Gives new meaning to the words "buzz kill."

    Jim Curry
 

UTAH
It took millennia to shape the weirdly eroded red rock formations in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park. But it took Glenn Taylor just a minute or so to deliberately topple one 170-million-year-old boulder from its sandstone pedestal. Then, in a monumental display of hubris, the Boy Scout leader from Highland, Utah, posted his gleeful vandalism on Facebook. Before the video was removed, more than a million viewers watched him do the deed, then jump around laughing while he high-fived his young son and a fellow Boy Scout leader. (Both men have since been ousted from their duties.) Their antics failed to amuse Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg, who told The Associated Press, "This is highly, highly inappropriate. This is not what you do at state parks. It's disturbing and upsetting." Taylor, who may face criminal charges, told the Deseret News that he was merely protecting other visitors from the "loose" rock, though the video clearly shows he had to strain to force the mushroom-shaped rock off its support. The video may also affect a lawsuit: Taylor claims that he seriously injured his back in a car accident four years ago. But as the man he's suing, Alan MacDonald, said, "In the video, I see a big strong guy who steps up to a 2,000-pound rock and dislodges it, and I just think to myself, 'That guy doesn't have a bad back.' "

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
A bison can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, so when one died recently in Yellowstone near Soda Butte Creek across from the Lamar River, its huge carcass became a prize destination for grizzlies, wolves, crows, magpies and ravens. Dillon, Mont., photographer Pete Bengeyfield, who happened upon the bloody buffet early, said that in 20 years he'd never seen anything like it. In the starring role was a large male grizzly, which clambered on top of the bison and stood up as if to say: "This is my bison, you better stay back," reports the Billings Gazette. His macho display, however, failed to deter a grizzly sow with three cubs, who kept trying to approach for a meal. Meanwhile, five wolves waited "for an opportunity to dash in for a stray morsel of flesh to satisfy their own hunger." Bengeyfield photographed the evolving scene, which wasn't far from a road, over three days in September. He wasn't alone: By the time it was over, some 125 other park visitors also watched the wildlife jockey for access to the delicious bison.

NEVADA
Is there no limit to what happens in Las Vegas? That's probably a dumb question. Here's what's currently topping our list for egregious excess: Pankaj Malani and Avnie Petel's recent $9 million wedding on the Las Vegas Strip in front of 600 guests. Flowers alone cost $150,000, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but the show was stolen by a 9,000-pound, 47-year-old elephant called Tai, which walked up the driveway of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. The elephant wasn't crashing the wedding; Tai can be hired for $10,000 from the California company Have Trunk Will Travel. Afterwards, wedding planner Tory Cooper observed, "I think we are out of the recession."

COLORADO
In Hotchkiss, a town of some 1,200 people, the "Marshal's Report" in the North Fork Merchant Herald noted the reason for the unusual –– and illegal –– firing of a gun within town limits: A man "facilitated the removal of a large wasp's nest from a tree by shooting it down." The gunshots understandably alarmed some neighbors, as well as startling the wasps. On another day, proceedings at the town court were "short and uneventful," although Judge Lynn French volunteered a personal note: His 97-year-old mother, he said, had "unilaterally decided that she should give up driving."

ALASKA
An orange tabby cat who wears a natty sweater vest has been mayor of Talkeetna for the last 16 years. After a dog recently attacked Mayor Stubbs, however, "townsfolk are being forced to contemplate regime change," reports the Wall Street Journal. Animal mayors are not as uncommon as you might imagine. "A beer-drinking goat named Clay Henry presided over Lajitas, Texas, until his death in 1992, after which he was succeeded by two other goats." And in Eastsound, Wash., dogs have been elected to office "in every year except in 2011, when a dairy cow named April defeated four canines, a rabbit and cat." Mayor Stubbs, said to be convalescing slowly, has had a sometimes challenging tenure. Five years ago, teenagers sprayed the cat with BBs, and last year, he tumbled into a kitchen fryer, though fortunately, the oil was cold. If Stubbs succumbs, says Sassan Mossaner, owner of the Denali Brewing Co., it will be hard for everyone: "Those are difficult paws to fill."

High Country News Classifieds
  • UNIQUE, ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME ON ACREAGE NEAR MOSCOW, IDAHO
    Custom-built energy-efficient 3000 sqft two-story 3BR home, 900 sqft 1 BR accessory cottage above 2-car garage and large shop. Large horse barn. $1,200,000. See online...
  • OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) - established and profitable outdoor adventure & education business in Missoula, Montana. Summer camp, raft & climb guide, teen travel,...
  • OJO SARCO FARM/HOME
    A wonderful country setting for a farm/work 1350s.f. frame home plus 1000 studio/workshop. 5 acres w fruit trees, an irrigation well, pasture and a small...
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • VERDE RIVER PROJECTS TECHNICIAN
    The Verde River Projects Technician (VRPT) provides technical assistance to Verde River Program staff in implementation of the Verde River Streamflow Monitoring Protocol. This consist...
  • 8 FIELD PROJECT SPECIALISTS (POSITION FORMERLY TITLED TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
    Are you passionate about environmental conservation and connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with outdoor leadership...
  • SOUTHWEST REWILDING ADVOCATE
    WildEarth Guardians is seeking a full-time advocate in our Wild Places Program to advance a new paradigm of forest management and protection based on the...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...