I am an outdoor "extreme sports" enthusiast, a lover of pushing myself to challenge my perceived limits, a wilderness explorer, and an average guy who wants to live more than an average life.
The abbreviated story of my adventurous life:
I moved to Wyoming when I was 16 and fell in love with the Rocky Mountain West. I began backpacking and peak bagging while in high school with surplus discount inadequate gear, but loved the experiences enough to overlook the discomforts.
After high school, which I somehow managed to graduate early from, I worked in the oilfield and learned how much that sucked.
I then decided I wanted more out of life so I earned an Associates Degree from a small Wyoming community college and then spontaneously joined the US Army Reserves.
My unit was ordered to active duty and I was deployed to Saudi Arabia on Feb 18, 1991. I was attached to the 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment where I served as a heavy vehicle operator, a M-60 gunner and field medic.
I survived the war (after a few pretty close calls) and realized I had never really LIVED. Upon return home in May, I spent the summer drinking way too much, being pretty freaked out and trying to readjust to civilian life. I bought a mountain bike and learned to vent my anxiety and frustrations on long rides in the mountains.
At the end of that summer, I returned to college, this time in Utah, and tried to fit in and be "normal" again. I made friends with an awesome guy name Danny, who taught me technical rock climbing. I spent a lot of time clinging to the cliffs and climbing mountains with Danny when I should have been in class. Climbing made me feel alive, kept me physically and mentally fit, and provide the ability to quickly escape the stress of college and got me into the mountains.
Somehow I managed to get a BS in Biology, but decided I wanted to live life outdoor rather than work in a lab.
I started whitewater kayaking after getting my degree and spent a summer working for the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) as a range technician essentially measuring grass in fenced areas vs grazed areas. Good times there!
During the fall, I applied for and landed an internship in Moab,Utah teaching natural/cultural history at a non-profit outdoor education school called Canyonlands Field Institute.
CFI utilized a field camp in Professor Valley east of Moab for land based programs, and used the many rivers of the Colorado Plateau for a classroom while on multi-day raft trips. I learned how to row a raft, run a paddle boat, do multi-day wilderness river trips, and gained much knowledge about the cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau.
After my internship, I was employed seasonally in Moab as a river guide and kayak instructor. At first, in the off season I went on food stamps and did any odd job I could find to survive. After a few years of this, I began guiding in Texas, Arizona and Mexico during the shoulder seasons (Spring and Fall). During the winters I took work where I could find it such as surveying, electrician's apprentice, substitute teaching and other odd jobs.
I burned out of guiding after 4 long years and became a river ranger. I got tired of the river "guests" whining and complaining about the wind or the rain or the cold or the heat or the rapids being too small or too scary, etc.
I first rangered in Utah at Westwater Canyon, Utah for the BLM, then the next season on the Grande Ronde River in NE Oregon for the BLM, then finished out my government career on the Main Salmon in Idaho with the forest service.
I hated the bureaucracy and politics of these agencies and still had to deal with cleaning bathrooms, whiny people, their attitudes and their trash.
I was pretty discouraged about life and didn't know what to do for work. I was back living in Wyoming, and jobs (and attractive women with a full set of teeth) were in high demand and short supply. By an unexpected chain of events, I ended up becoming a deputy sheriff in Wyoming, something that none of my old friends could believe, and even caused my family to wonder.
It turned out I loved driving fast and shooting guns (I have always loved shooting guns), and on occasion, I could help people out and make a difference.
After a fateful reconnection with a buddy from my Moab guiding days, I was introduced to my future wife. She and I spent all our free time on river, mountain and desert adventures for a few years, and then decided to make things permanent.
I moved to Utah for my wife's job (she works in the medical field and her specialty was limited to major hospitals and there were few such positions in Wyoming).
I got a job as a municipal police officer for a small agency and worked my way up to detective. Once again, I enjoyed helping people and making a difference, and I enjoyed the small "family" feel of the department.
Myself and another officer were selected to attend Utah County Metro SWAT Basic Training, aka "Hell Week", in 2010. Day 1 I blew out a disc in my lower back, but fought on and completed the grueling week long course. A few months later, my back got so bad that I had to undergo emergency surgery to fuse 2 vertebra in my lower back.
My back healed up and I felt pretty good for a year or so. Then things changed, and I began to experience chronic back pain. Since then, I live a life of daily pain and am limited in the adventures I can participate in. I've had to give up running, kayaking, backpacking and most sports I loved. I lost a lot of my confidence and my self-esteem. I struggle to get outdoor and fight depression and low motivation. I even though of suck-starting my Glock at one point, but decided to seek counseling and address my depression and the demons I had brought home from the Middle East in '91.
On the up side though, I now have two kids who mean more to me than any of my outdoors accomplishments. I now spend more time doing mellow camping and rafting adventures with my family, but still have the "Wild" in my soul, and still on occasion get out, bag a peak or do a cool mountain bike ride. I usually pay the price in pain afterwards, but it's worth it for my soul.
I started this web page to share my adventures from my youth and also as a therapy for my war and law enforcement related PTSD, and the associated depression and anxiety that goes with it and my back injury.
I truly hope to provide some entertaining reading and inspiration for those out there who have always wanted to get out in the wilds and live life to it's fullest. I want others to "Find the Wild" in the mountain, deserts, seas and even city parks...and especially in themselves.
Cheers, and be safe out there,
B.E. Wylde -the author.